5 Films You Need to See at the Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival

Want to travel around the world and expand your horizons without ever having to leave the metropolitan area? The 34th annual Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival (PJFF) offers a diverse array of films that seek to engage, entertain and educate Philly audiences of all backgrounds. It is the city’s longest-running film festival, offering a safe environment to form and share opinions. Here, we’ve curated a list of flicks to see before the festival closes on November 16th.

The Zigzag Kid (2012, Netherlands): Recent Bar Mitzvah Nono tests his newly acquired manhood by embarking on a secret mission with his father’s sworn nemesis, Master Jewel Thief Felix Glick. Together Nono and Felix travel through the French Riviera, wreaking havoc and encountering sultry women. This coming-of-age film uses wit and humor to inspire audience members of all ages. Sunday, November 9th, 1 p.m., The Gershman Y.

The Best of Men (2012, U.K.): Ludwig Guttman is a Jewish neurologist who escapes to the U.K. from Nazi Germany. He is met with resistance after starting an initiative meant to engage paraplegic veterans in activities designed to improve their quality of life. His efforts aim to rebuild the self-esteem of broken men who were left to fill up space in a U.K. hospital. The Best of Men is based on true events that led to the founding of the Paralympic Games. Sunday, November 9, 7:00 p.m., Hiway Theater.

Zero Motivation (2014, Israel): For many women, life in the Israeli Defense Force is not all Krav Maga and machine guns. In fact, oftentimes women are left to do monotonous office work for their two years of required service. Watch what happens when a bunch of stir-crazed young women are joined together in an office setting for an extended period of time. Or, as PJFF says, “think an all female IDF version of Office Space cranked up a notch or three.” Thursday, November 13, 7:00 p.m., Ritz East.

Above and Beyond (2014, U.S.): This suspenseful documentary tells the story of American World War II pilots who volunteered to fight in the 1948 Israeli War of Independence. Through determination and courage, a group of men become comrades and band together to prevent the annihilation of the Jewish State. Saturday, November 15, 7:30 p.m., Kimmel Center.


Sderot: Rock in the Red Zone (2015, U.S.): Israel’s epicenter of mainstream rock music is also the No. 1 target of Qassam rocket attacks from Hamas. Sderot is a small town located a mile from the Gaza Strip and home to many of Israel’s most talented musicians. This documentary introduces audiences to various musicians, previewing art inspired to cope with the traumas of constant bombing. Sunday, November 16, 3:00 p.m., The Gershman Y.

For a full lineup of films, ticketing, and more information on the Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival click here.