Things get lively with the 2007 Oscar winner for Short Film, "West Bank Story" -- an Israeli parody of the West Side Story. In this version, the rival families are Jewish and Arab and compete to have the best fast-food stand in Israel. A Palestinian cashier and an Israeli soldier fall in love, singing and dancing their way into a pit full of family enmity.
After the musical comedy, the festival takes a more serious approach by showing the compelling documentary "The Danish Solution," which investigates how, during World War II, 95 percent of Denmark's Jewish population was rescued from the Nazis. The film tells the stories of survivors and rescuers motivated to spread the truth of the situation.
The short film "Pesya's Necklace" is the story of an Israeli Auschwitz survivor who accompanies her granddaughter on a school trip to the concentration camp. Pesya returns to Poland in hopes of finding a necklace she hid on the day she was taken away and, in doing so, is confronted with her deepest secrets.
Along with "The Danish Solution," the festival will show another documentary, "In Search of Peace Part One: 1948-1967." Narrated by Michael Douglas, this film explores the origins of the state of Israel up through the Six-Day War. It features films and photos that examine events in Israel's past as well as Arab refugee camps and the role of the United Nations.
"White Walls," an Israeli film about a young photographer, begins the final day of the Gonzaga festival. This feature-length film is about a young woman, Shahar Aboutbul, who is beginning her career as a photographer when she receives unexpected news about her grandmother's death. Shahar now has to return to the town she grew up in, where she restores a powerful connection with her family.
The festival concludes with another showing of "West Bank Story" after Israel's 2004 film "Mirrors," a short film exploring the life of a young Ethiopian girl, Almaz, who dreams about finding independence and love before she is forced into an arranged marriage. Twenty years later, Almaz faces a similar situation in Israel as she takes a different name and prepares to confront her husband as if for the very first time.
Except for the two documentaries, all of the films featured in the festival are in Hebrew with English subtitles. Tickets will be available at the door.
The Spokane Jewish Film Festival will show Yellow Asphalt and "West Bank Story" on Saturday, Oct. 27, at 7:30 pm; "The Danish Solution" and "Pesya's Necklace" on Sunday, Oct. 28, at 4 pm and In Search of Peace, Part One: 1948-67 at 7 pm; and "White Walls," "Mirrors" and "West Bank Story" on Monday, Oct. 29, at 7 pm at the Gonzaga University School of Law, 721 N. Cincinnati St. Tickets: $8; $6, seniors and students. Call 747-7394.