One of the highlights of every annual Program Guide is Professor Matthew Bernstein’s* must-see films list. He painstakingly reviews a slew of films in each year's lineup, and 2016 has him as enthusiastic as ever.
We'll be featuring his picks, one-by-one, leading up to the festival's Opening Night on January 26. Of course, if you can't wait to see his entire write-up, make sure to grab your copy of the official Program Guide.
From its very opening scene, in which a swinging jazz score accompanies the recovery of an 80-year-old murder victim, I was seduced by this intricate, funny, deftly directed Israeli mystery. Alternating between flashbacks of the con artist-victim’s life and the struggles of an unhappy detective assigned to the case, director Amir Wolff maintains a laugh-out-loud tone even as he sensitively acknowledges the sorrows of Israeli Holocaust survivor widows. The crowning glory of Fire Birds, however, is its veteran cast: all of the leads deliver sterling performances. No wonder this thought-provoking, enormously entertaining film earned so many Ophir nominations, with a Best Supporting Actress win for the hilarious Dvor Kedar.
*Dr. Matthew Bernstein is the Goodrich C. White Professor of Film and Media Studies and department chair at Emory University.
Previous Must See Films of 2016