The past weekend I saw 2 films at the Denver Jewish Film Festival: Bruriah and The Fire Within: Jews in the Amazonian Rainforest. Both were good, although I think the latter, director Lorry Salcedo Mitrani’s first film, had better production values.
Bruriah is a story within a story, in which modern-day Bruriah is obsessed with the tale of second-century Bruriah, a learned woman who questioned the rabbinic claim that women are “light-minded.” In response, her husband sent one of his students to seduce her.
The only thing that bothered me about this film was that it never questioned the right of men to mess with women in this way. It reminded me of Atanarjuat in that respect.
The Fire Within explores the history of the Jews who settled in the town of Iquitos, Peru, and made a living in the rubber trade at the turn of the twentieth century. Many of them had children with indigenous women, and after a generation or two they stopped practicing Judaism. The movie chronicles how modern residents of Iquitos reconnected with their Jewish roots and eventually migrated to Israel.
The festival runs through February 20 and shows films you won’t see anywhere else. Check it out.