AJFF What to Watch in July


A number of true stories told in both documentary and dramatized form are among these films, most formerly shown at AJFF's annual festival or at its year-round programming. Film titles are linked with information on where to watch or purchase.

Video on Demand

#AnneFrank. Parallel Stories 
Anne Frank’s immortal words are revived for the hashtag generation with dramatic readings, social media, and parallels with other children of the Holocaust. Oscar-winner Helen Mirren breathes fresh life into the famous diary, reading excerpts in an exact replica of Anne’s Amsterdam hideaway. The vivid account is woven with experiences of other girls who escaped the war alive. Memories are further explored via social media, as a young woman uses her own “digital diary” to imagine how Frank might speak to peers today. A modern retelling of Anne’s story on what would have been her 90th birthday, this bridging of past and present carries the gifted diarist’s legacy forward in profound new ways. Featured at the 2020 AJFF.

The Catcher Was A Spy 
Based on the spy novel of the same name, the film stars Paul Rudd as former baseball major leaguer Moe Berg, who joined the war effort during World War II and partook in espionage for the U.S. Government. The film features a lineup of all-stars including Mark Strong, Sienna Miller, Jeff Daniels, Tom Wilkinson, Guy Pearce and Paul Giamatti. 

Fiddler on the Roof 
The film, produced and directed by Norman Jewison, is an American musical comedy-drama and an adaptation of the 1964 Broadway musical of the same name, with music composed by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and screenplay by Joseph Stein. The decision to cast Topol, instead of Zero Mostel, who originated the role on Broadway, as Tevye was a somewhat controversial one at the time; but Jewison noted that he felt while Mostel's larger-than-life personality was well suited for the stage, it would cause film audiences to see him as Zero Mostel, rather than the character of Tevye. For the role of Tevye, Topol was nominated for Best Actor.

Schindler’s List 
Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece achieves the seemingly impossible: a rigorous, sobering, accessible and artistically stunning Holocaust drama, told through the incredible true story of an unlikely humanitarian. Winner of 7 Academy Awards including for Best Picture, its black-and-white cinematography, and John Williams's haunting score. AJFF screened the film for its 25th anniversary in 2018.

Made over 30 years ago (we can't believe it either!) in 1987, the Mel Brooks co-written, produced and directed Star Wars spoof is considered a cult classic and remains one of Brooks's most popular films. George Lucas was such a fan of the idea that he allowed Brooks full permission to lampoon anything he wanted with one condition, that no merchandise associated with the film ever be made.

Blu-Ray & DVD

The film stars Jesse Eisenberg and is based on the true story of legendary mime Marcel Marceau, who led an effort to save Holocaust orphans with the help of the French Resistance. Marceau never saw himself as a hero as noted in an interview with the director and screenwriter Jonathan Jakubowicz.

The Zookeeper's Wife 
The film is based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Diane Ackerman. Two-time Academy Award nominee Jessica Chastain stars in the real-life story of the keepers of the Warsaw Zoo, Antonina and Jan Żabiński, who helped save hundreds of Jews during the German invasion of Poland.