UK Jewish Film Festival 2023 Poster

Manchester welcomes the UK Jewish Film Festival this November.

The 27th annual UK Jewish Film Festival returned to cinemas across Manchester.

Featured venues included Parrs Wood Cineworld cinema in Didsbury, Home in the city centre, and the Curzon Cinema in Knutsford.

The UK Jewish Film Festival began on November 9 and ran until November 23, with select films available for online viewing until the 27th.

Little Windows into Jewish Life

The festival showcases films by both Jewish and non-Jewish directors, highlighting and celebrating Jewish heritage and culture in Manchester.

The festival promotes Jewish-related films to a diverse audience and integrates them into British culture.

Judith Gordon, chair of the Manchester UK Jewish Film Committee, said: “Film is universal, and it still amazes me that there are so many Jewish filmmakers all over the world.”

“It crosses cultures and, through the telling of cinematic stories, provides different views of Jewish and Israeli culture,” She said.

UK Jewish Film Festival Posters 2023
The UK Jewish Film Festival has grown from a small festival in Brighton to a nationwide event in recent years. Image Credit: Rebecca Mills

Extra precautions were taken by festival organizers due to the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict and rise in anti-Semitism in Manchester, which included security checks and collaboration with local police.

Michael Etherton, chief executive and creative director of the UK Jewish Film Festival, stated: “The festival is about the community coming together at a difficult time, and the British Jewish community being able to come together to talk and share their stories.”

Powerful Narratives: ‘The Narrow Bridge’

One notable documentary, ‘The Narrow Bridge, ‘ features four inspiring individuals—Israeli Meytal, Rami, and Palestinians Bushra and Bassam.

Despite losing loved ones – a child or a parent – to the conflict, they chose to be peace activists rather than holding onto anger, breaking the cycle of violence.

'The Narrow Bridge' documentary plays at Curzon Cinema in Knutsford
The documentary ‘The Narrow Bridge’ is an inspiring story of Israelis and Palestinians working together to achieve peace. Image Credit: Rebecca Mills

There is a diverse genre of films, from documentaries to comedies. There is something for everyone.

Michael highlights the cultural importance of films covering various topics such as anti-Semitism, the Goldman Pace, LGBT issues, and the aftermath of the Holocaust in ‘The Devil’s Profession,’.

He said: “I recommend watching The Last Cowboy in Salford or The Soldier on Smithtown Road, which is set in Liverpool and based on a true story. It resonates with today’s crisis, with the rise of anti-Semitism in the UK.”

“Times are hard, but something like ‘less than kosher’ brings a light Jewish comedic touch. In times like these, we can all appreciate a bit of joy and comedy,” He said.

This year’s UK Jewish Film Festival in Manchester not only presented the filmmaker’s great work but also fostered a sense of community during challenging times.