Hartford Jewish Film Festival

Hartford Jewish Film Festival
Monday, Mar 20, 2023 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Mandell Jewish Community Center
335 Bloomfield Avenue

Film Schedule:

7 - 9 PM: The Man in the Basement

A taut psychological thriller based on true events. Simon, a Parisian Jew descended from family who perished in the Holocaust, unknowingly sells the unused cellar space in his apartment building to Fonzic, a former history teacher and Holocaust denier. As soon as Fonzic takes occupancy, his motives become clear. Simon’s family life is upended, his naïve teenage daughter falls prey to Fonzic’s propaganda, and events in the apartment building take a sinister turn. Can Simon rescind the sale and evict the bigot on the basis of his antisemitic beliefs? Does Fonzic have a legitimate legal claim to the space? The story unfolds in a way that shifts your sympathies back and forth, each unsettling turn of the plot raising the stakes.

7 - 9 PM: Xueta Island

Part travelogue, part documentary, this fascinating film explores the history of Majorca’s Xuetas (pronounced Cheutas), descendants of a group of 15 Jewish families expelled from Inquisition-era Spain and forced to live as Catholics for 450 years. These Crypto-Jews put down roots on the Spanish island of Majorca, but during centuries of discrimination, secret worship, and forced conversion they gradually intermarried and lost touch with Jewish customs, traditions, and faith. Jewish-American expat Dani Rotstein takes us on a tour of towns that bear traces of a Jewish culture that has vanished. Today the oldest survivors (now practicing Catholics) are joining with younger generations to rediscover their Jewish ancestors. Approximately 20,000 Xuetas live on the island today, and the new awakening allows for various levels of religious commitment and piety.