10th Contra Costa festival screens 20 international films

What would it have taken to avert the 1973 Yom Kippur War?

The Israeli film “Silence of the Sirens” addresses that question in a suspenseful feature that explores the findings of Israel’s 1973 Agranat Judicial Commission. The film will screen 10 a.m. Thursday, March 10, at the Contra Costa JCC in Walnut Creek.

“If the information on the ground had been analyzed correctly it is possible that the war wouldn’t have happened and thousands of lives would have been saved,” says Riva Gambert of the Jewish Community Federation of the Greater East Bay, discussing questions raised in the film.

“Silence” is one of 20 films in the 10th annual Contra Costa International Jewish Film Festival, produced by the East Bay federation and the CCJCC. The festival runs Saturday, March 5, to Friday, March 11, at CineArts, 2314 Monument Blvd., Pleasant Hill, and the CCJCC, 2071 Tice Valley Blvd., Walnut Creek.

The French film “Man is Woman,” showing 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 8, at CineArt, was a festival favorite in the past. The romantic musical drama is about an unlikely marriage between Simon, a gay clarinet player who has walked away from Judaism, and Rosalie, a Yiddish folk singer.

“The Fight,” showing 1:30 p.m. Sunday, March 6, at the CCJCC, recounts the heavyweight bout between the late Max Schmeling and boxer Joe Louis. ABC7’s Spencer Christian will speak.

Sixty-five years after the legendary Jewish sports club Hakoah Vienna closed and its swimmers fled Austria,”Watermarks” brings together some of the members. The daughter of one of the swimmers will speak. “Watermarks” shows 10 a.m. March 8 at the CCJCC.

“Wondrous Oblivion,” showing at CineArts 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 9, tells the story of a cricket player and racial tension in 1960s London.

A competition between a Catholic and a Jewish entrepreneur in Italy coincides with Mussolini’s racial laws in “Unfair Competition,” 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, March 5, at CineArts.

The documentary “The Collector of Bedford Street,” showing 9:30 a.m. March 6 at the CCJCC, follows the life of mentally challenged Larry Selman, who raises thousands of dollars for charity each year. Following that movie is “Caravan 841,” about an abandoned Ethiopian boy who befriends an older Torah scholar and an African American jazz musician.

The story of a young South African actor sent by his village on a holy pilgrimage to Jerusalem plays out in “James’ Journey to Jerusalem” 11:15 a.m. March 6 at the CCJCC.

In “Bonjour Monsieur Shlomi,” 16-year-old Shlomi is the caretaker for his entire family. His life changes through the help of teachers and love. The film plays 5 p.m. March 6 at CineArts.

Freedom fighters, World War II and a fake marriage are explored in “Zelary,” showing 7:30 p.m. March 6 at CineArts.

Director Debra Gonsher Vinik traveled to Uganda to film the story of the Abayudaya, a tribe that practices Judaism. “Moving Heaven and Earth” shows 10 a.m. Monday, March 7, at the CCJCC. Vinik will speak.

The Argentinean film “Lost Embrace” tells the story of a young man seeking to explore his European roots and the reason why his father left his family to fight the Yom Kippur War. “Lost in Embrace” runs 7:30 p.m. March 7 at CineArts.

An Israeli teen rebels by dating the Arab Israeli son of the family maid in “2 Minutes from Faradis” 12 p.m. March 8 at the CCJCC. “A Good Uplift,” a 15-minute documentary about a Lower East Side lingerie shop, is also on the bill.

“Purity,” by Israeli filmmaker Anat Zuria, looks at the rituals shaping Orthodox women’s lives and sexuality. It shows 10 a.m. Wednesday, March 9, at the CCJCC. “Three Fingers” is also playing.

“Columbia, The Tragic Loss” explores the inner world of Ilan Ramon, the Israeli astronaut, and the tragic crash of the space shuttle. It shows following “Silence of the Sirens” March 10.

A young couple struggles with an empty marriage until a stranger enters the picture, and all must confront their pasts in “Facing Windows,” at 7:30 p.m. March 10 in CineArts.

“Hiding and Seeking” follows a father who travels with his Orthodox sons to Poland, where they find the Christian family who hid the sons’ grandfather during World War II. It runs 10 a.m. Friday, March 11, at the CCJCC.

Information: (925) 938-7800 or www.jfed.org/jewishfilmfestival.