AJFF What to Watch in September


A new satire for the pandemic times is featured alongside titles to revisit, several with well-known Hollywood faces, in this month's picks. Film titles are linked with information on where to watch or purchase.

Video on Demand

The Birdcage 
The 1996 film features one of Robin Williams's best performances as a Jewish father, Armand Goldman. Armand's love for his son is what sets into motion the hilarious comedy that ensues. When his son essentially tells him that his way of life will not only embarrass him but ruin his chance at wedded bliss, Armand turns his life upside down to make his son happy at the cost of whatever harm it may do to his relationship, business, and self-worth.

Coastal Elites 
Directed by Jay Roach, this socially-distanced, comedic satire spotlights five characters breaking down and breaking through as they grapple with politics, culture, and the pandemic. Featuring an all-star cast including Bette Midler, Sarah Paulson, Dan Levy and Issa Rae.

The Graduate 
Based on the 1963 novel of the same name by Charles Webb, the film tells the story of 21-year-old Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman), a recent college graduate, who is seduced by an older woman, Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft). To complicate matters further, he then falls in love with her daughter Elaine (Katharine Ross). The film received six Academy Award nominations, including a win for director Mike Nichols. It also features one of the most famous soundtracks of all time, by Simon and Garfunkel. 

The Producers 
The 2005 American musical comedy film directed by Susan Stroman and written by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan is based on the 2001 Broadway musical, which in turn was based on Brooks's 1967 film of the same name starring Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder. The film features many from the Broadway cast including Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick. Lane won a Tony Award for his portrayal of washed-up producer Max Bialystock.

Blu-Ray & DVD

First Cow
This 2019 American drama film is based on Jonathan Raymond's novel The Half Life and stars John Magaro as “Cookie” Figowitz, a Jewish baker ill-suited to traveling West with a fur- trapping party. Upon finding a true connection with a Chinese immigrant (Orion Lee) also seeking his fortune; the two collaborate on a successful business, although its longevity is reliant upon the clandestine participation of a nearby wealthy landowner’s prized milking cow.

Private Parts
Released in 1997, the narrative biopic of shock jock Howard Stern stars Stern, and is adapted from his autobiography of the same name. The now cult classic also features a mix of Stern's real-life collegues playing themselves alongside Hollywood heavyweights like Paul Giamatti.

An abuse survivor exhumes his past in a forensic search for healing, in this brave, no-holds-barred investigation of trauma in a Jewish American family. All his younger life, Sasha’s father obsessively recorded the family’s every move. Once frisky and bright, Sasha becomes angry and isolated, and the innocuous footage proves a sinister archive of secrets. Amid a high-stakes court battle and media firestorm, family and mental health and legal experts are enlisted to reconstruct a history of child sexual abuse, as cathartic and instructive, as it is disturbing. Winner of the 2020 AJFF Documentary Jury Prize.