• Events
May 26
Film Series
POSTPONED | The Confession Embassy of France - La Maison Française 4101 Reservoir Road, NW - Washington, DC

San Francisco Jewish Film Festival

Two French films will be presented during the 39th San Francisco Jewish Film Festival:

Henri Dauman: Looking Up

You might not know the name of French photographer Henri Dauman but you definitely know the iconic pictures he's taken. The self-taught perfectionist captured thousands of images of Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot, Andy Warhol and perhaps, most famously, the black-veiled Jackie Kennedy as she made her way up Pennsylvania Avenue in JFK's 1963 funeral procession. When Elvis Presley was discharged from the US Army in 1960, Dauman was so close you can even see the intrepid lensman, camera in hand, in newsreels of the rocker's return. Yet behind the dazzling success of four decades as a Life magazine photojournalist was a childhood haunted by tragedy. Dauman's Jewish father perished in Auschwitz. During the Nazi occupation, his mother managed to keep her young son alive by hiding him in a rural French town. But after the war's end, she died after accidentally ingesting poisoned bicarbonate purchased on the black market. Barely out of his teens, Dauman made his way to New York where he established himself as a leading photographer for millions of Life's weekly readers. This chronicle threads two fascinating journeys of the picture artist: an intimate look at Dauman's creative path and an emotional trip back to find the French country home where he nearly died in a hail of German bullets.
Thomas Logoreci

My Polish Honeymoon

What opens as a light romantic comedy transforms into a richly complex journey of self-discovery. Adam and Anna live the dream millennial Paris life: cute apartment, adorable baby and parents willing to babysit so they can finally have their honeymoon. They're headed to Poland, partly for a ceremony to commemorate Adam's grandfather's Jewish village, destroyed in the war. But before they can leave, it's clear the pair have some issues. Control issues for starters. When Anna's parents arrive, she tries fruitlessly to sell them on her color-coded list of activities and foods for their son. After they land, Anna's emotional state unravels. As the pair explore the country, it's revealed that she, like so many descendants of Holocaust survivors, has vainly sought to trace her family's old country Jewish roots. Not only has all trace of her forbears been erased, but her own relations refused to talk about the Shoah, a multigenerational silence for which Anna ferociously blames her mother. Anna finally uncovers evidence of her Polish roots. The film takes on extraordinary dimension as she and her husband grapple not just with the past, but with present-day anti-Semitism masked as celebration of Jewish culture. Heartbreak meets with hope as they find their way back home, and for Anna, towards a new understanding.
Emily Kaiser Thelin