Virginia Peninsula Jewish Film Festival offers two films this weekend in Williamsburg

David Nicholson

Issues of prejudice are examined in two films presented this weekend at the Virginia Peninsula Jewish Film Festival.

Presented by Temple Beth El of Williamsburg, the festival is celebrating its 15th season. "24 Days" will be shown Saturday night and "Dough" will be shown Sunday afternoon in the Kimball Theatre.

Betty Wajnberg Ronnen, chair of the film committee, says many of today's Jewish films are going beyond politics in the issues they explore.

"In the first film, the prejudice is uncontrolled," she says, "While in the second one, it is overcome."

The festival's opening weekend will be followed by a winter series of three films that will be shown in January, February and March of 2016.

"We review films from all over the world," says Ronnen. "Our goal is to select the movies that have the best artistic quality."

Here's a look at this weekend's films and the films coming up in 2016.

"24 Days." Directed by France's Alexandre Arcady, this suspense drama is based on a true story. The story revolves around the abduction of a 23-year-old who was taken because his abductors believe that "Jews have all the money." The police and his family have 24 days to rescue him, but his family is concerned when police indifference fails to recognize the anti-Semitic hatred shown by the abductors.

"Dough." Set in London, the film looks at an unlikely relationship between an elderly down-on-his-luck Jewish baker and his assistant, a teenage Muslin refugee from Darfar. When the young man accidentally drops his cannabis stash into the dough, sales pick up. The film looks at how different people can overcome their prejudices.

"The Last Mentsch," Jan. 17-19. An elderly Holocaust survivor who denied his Jewish heritage now wishes to be buried in a Jewish cemetery.

"Belle and Sebastian," Feb. 8-10. In World War II-occupied France, a young boy and his sheepdog help the resistance movement.

"Gett," March 6-8. A couple's contentious divorce pits the religious courts against personal liberties.

Nicholson can be reached by phone at 757-247-4794.

Want to go?

What: The Virginia Peninsula Jewish Film Festival presented by Temple Beth El of Williamsburg.

When: "24 Days," 7:30 p.m. Saturday; "Dough," 3 p.m. Sunday.

Where: Kimball Theatre, Merchants Square, Williamsburg.

Tickets: $15 for the Saturday film that includes a dessert reception; $8 general admission, $7 seniors and students, for the Sunday film. Call 800-HISTORY for reservations or purchase tickets at the door.

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