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February 12, 2008

The Back Lot: FILM NEWS & RUMINATIONS for 2-13-08

10th Jewish Film FestThis year the Louisville Jewish Film Festival celebrates its diamond anniversary. Congratulations, because maintaining a film fest for 10 years is no mean feat. You need sponsors, continued interest, good films and a suitable venue. As movie theaters dry up or turn into megaplexes, finding suitable venues is getting more difficult. LJFF has found a solution. It’s splitting its time between the Village 8, the Jewish Community Center on Dutchmans Lane and the Speed Art Museum.The festival kicks off Saturday at Village 8 with “Black Book,” a WWII-era thriller by the man behind “Total Recall” and “Basic Instinct.” In it, a sexy Dutch Jew narrowly escapes the murder of her family, signs up with the resistance and infiltrates the Gestapo. Like most of Verhoeven’s work, it’s simultaneously titillating, adventurous and intellectual. Feb. 18 has “Saved By Deportation” at the Jewish Community Center. The documentary tells of one of Stalin’s great ironies: By deporting thousands of Polish Jews to Siberia in the 1930s, he unwittingly saved their lives from the Nazi invasion. Two of the Jews profiled reminisce about being welcomed into the largely Muslim Soviet republics of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Feb. 20 has the drama “What a Wonderful Place” back at Village 8. It’s about guest workers in Israel. The 21st, also at Village 8, has “Jellyfish,” an ensemble comedy-drama about urban alienation. Feb. 23 has the centerpiece event, “The Rape of Europa” at the Speed. The film details the Nazi theft of Europe’s art treasures and their recovery. The event (at $45 per person) will also feature members of the museum explaining the painstaking process they go through to ensure that none of their works are stolen.Back at the JCC, “The First Basket” is playing Feb. 24. The documentary explains that Jews were essential in the establishment of the NBA and its ensuing popularity (Red Auerbach, anyone?).Wrapping up will be “The Tribe” and “Mauvaise Foi” on the 25th at Village 8. The former is a short, offbeat film that weaves the stories of the Barbie doll and the Jews. “Mauvaise Foi” is a French feature-length film about an Arab/Israeli couple. For more info, go to www.jccoflouisville.org. —Alan Abbott