AJFF Recommends: What to Watch, Films About Journalism

04/13/2020

The world of reporting and journalism is an ever-changing medium. These films feature stories about journalism and sometimes about the journalists themselves in a mix of narratives and documentaries. Film titles are linked with information on where to watch.

All the President's Men
With a gripping screenplay by notable Jewish screenwriter William Goldman, the film is based on the true-life story of the two reporters, Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) and Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman), who wouldn't give up on the story of the Watergate break-in. 

Blues By the Beach
What is it like living in a perpetual state of war and terror? Journalist Jack Baxter and his documentary crew set out to show another side of Israel: an interethnic and sun-soaked paradise where different cultures can coexist in peace. Fate brings them to Mike's Place in Tel Aviv, a beachfront blues bar where an eclectic assortment of humanity shares music, beer and good times, regardless of religion, politics or ethnicity. On April 29, 2003, cameras roll when a suicide bomber instantly shatters this oasis of sanity. Suddenly, what began as an innocuous documentary project becomes an unscripted and unprecedented record of a terrorist attack and its aftermath. The filmmakers themselves are brought from behind the camera and into the spotlight as victims struggle with physical and emotional recovery, and a close-knit community tries to move on. Featured in the 2007 AJFF.

Joseph Pulitzer: Voice of the People
An inspiring American success story, recounting the life and times of modern journalism’s founding father and relevant to the “fake news” era, this superbly crafted biography heralds freedom of the press at a time when First Amendment rights are challenged. Featured in the 2019 AJFF.

Night Will Fall
As Allied Forces liberated Nazi concentration camps, newsreel and military film crews were instructed to record everything, from piles of emaciated corpses to the haunted faces of survivors. Intended to be edited into damning proof of Nazi crimes, the graphic footage passed through the hands of British filmmaker Sidney Bernstein, and heavyweights Alfred Hitchcock and Billy Wilder, only to be shelved by the politics of postwar reconciliation. This is the untold story of the fabled film's stymied development and eventual painstaking restoration by London's Imperial War Museum. Featured in the 2015 AJFF.

Protektor
This narrative is a smart, stylish thriller about a Prague journalist and his part-Jewish wife whose lives are ravaged by the outbreak of WWII. Radio reporter Emil (Marek Daniel) is married to actress Hana (Jana Plodková), a famous film star who is initially oblivious to the Nazi threat. Hana's Jewish heritage precipitates her fall from the height of her career to the bottom of the social ladder. In order to protect her, Emil compromises himself, collaborating with the new Nazi-controlled state radio station. Featured in the 2010 AJFF.

Very Semi-Serious
The New Yorker has long reflected back to us the world we live in. This documentary offers an offbeat meditation on humor, art, and the genius of the single panel. From the line of hopeful cartoonists outside editor Robert Mankoff’s office to in-depth interviews with Roz Chast, Mort Gerberg, and the other cartoonists whose scribbled signatures we know so well, this film provides an unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at the iconic weekly publication.