AJFF Playback Narrative Week Ten Results

The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival’s 20th anniversary season continues online with an interactive film contest. We invite you, our loyal audience, to cast a vote for your favorite films from our festival vault, and help determine which will claim the title of “2020 AJFF Playback Winner" in the categories of short, documentary, and narrative.

The Syrian Bride vs. Fanny's Journey


The Syrian Bride
Dir: Eran Riklis • France, Germany, Israel • 2004 • 98 mins • Arabic, French, Hebrew, Russian, with subtitles

The tortured politics of the Middle East receive a particularly humanistic treatment in veteran Israeli filmmaker Eran Riklis' critically-acclaimed standout that skillfully balances family drama, gentle farce, and political commentary. Set against the flashpoint of the Syrian-Israeli conflict, Mona (Clare Khoury) leaves her Golan Heights village to cross the border for the saddest day of her life: an arranged marriage with a Syrian fiancée (Derar Sliman) she has never met, and never again allowed to reenter Israel to see her close-knit family. Embroiled in the personal and bureaucratic mayhem is the large wedding party and cast of other assorted characters, each portrayed with uncommon depth and sympathy, including the bride’s sister, Amal (beautifully played by actress Hiam Abbass). Featured at the 2006 AJFF.


Fanny's Journey
Dir: Lola Doillon • Belgium, France • 2016 • 94 mins • French, with subtitles

A brave, resourceful girl leads a band of orphans through Nazi-occupied France in this poignant coming-of-age drama bristling with suspense. Following the arrest of their father in Paris, Fanny and her younger sisters are sent to a boarding school in France's neutral zone. Their safe haven is temporary, however, and the Jewish students are whisked away to another institution where they come under the care of the tough but tender Madame Forman (César-winning actress Cécile de France). As further danger surfaces, the children's fate is entrusted to 13-year-old Fanny who fearlessly treks through the countryside on a perilous mission to reach the Swiss border. Filmmaker Lola Doillon's handsome production is bolstered by impressive period details and fine camerawork. Featured at the 2017 AJFF.

Live and Become vs. Dough


Live and Become
Dir: Radu Mihăileanu • France, Israel • 2004 • 143 mins • Amharic, French, Hebrew, with subtitles

Live and Become is a sweeping epic told through the intense intimacy of one boy's survival amidst the Ethiopian famine of the 1980s. As American and Israel forces airlift thousands of Ethiopian Jews to the Holy Land in a secret mission dubbed "Operation Moses," an African mother colludes to place her 7-year-old non-Jewish son among the evacuees in hopes of saving him from a grim fate. Young Solomon (Moshe Agazi) is swept away to Tel Aviv and taken in by a French Sephardic family. Renamed "Schlomo" by his adoptive parents and forced to conceal his true identity, salvation slowly gives way to the inner emotional decay. Struggling with the infrastructure of a new family, the teachings of Judaism and the sting of racism, Schlomo seeks out the support of an Ethiopian community leader and mentor, Qes Amhra (Yitzhak Edgar). As a teenager circa 1989, Schlomo (now played by Mosche Asebe) falls in love, but the romance only underscores the tension and deceit of his feigned life. The film's powerful concluding chapter centers on Schlomo as an adult (Sirak M. Sabahat) and his bold actions toward self-healing. The scale of the film's production rivals the ambitious arc of the storyline itself. Featured at the 2006 AJFF.


Dir: John Goldschmidt • Hungary, United Kingdom • 2014 • 94 mins • English

Jonathan Pryce stars as an old Jewish baker whose faltering business is inadvertently saved by his young Muslim apprentice, in the British dramedy Dough. Widowed and down on his luck, Nat Dayan (Pryce) is desperate to save his bakery in London's East End. In a pinch, he reluctantly enlists the help of teenager Ayyash (Jerome Holder), a refugee from Darfur. The Muslim boy assists with the bakery's daily chores while selling cannabis on the side to help his struggling mother make ends meet. When Ayyash one day accidentally drops his stash into the dough, the challah starts flying off the shelf, and an unlikely friendship forms between the old Jewish baker and his young Muslim apprentice. Directed by John Goldschmidt, Dough is a warmhearted and gently humorous story about overcoming prejudice and finding redemption in unexpected places. Featured at the 2015 AJFF.

See the Results on Who Gets to Advance to the Next Round