“Esther and Me” at the CJFilm Festival Inspired Me


I’ve been attending the Columbus Jewish Film Festival for the past few weeks. I’ve really enjoyed all the films. I think independent movies are the best movies being made today.

Today I saw a short little film that really spoke to me. It is called  “Esther and Me.” It was directed by Lisa Geduldig. She made a little film about a very charismatic woman that she met in a Jewish nursing home in New York.

Geduldig meets Esther, a resident of the nursing home, when she runs an activity at the nursing home. . She strikes up a friendship with Esther, who is in her late 80’s.  She used to be a gorgeous fashion model, and then had a career as a stand-up comic. The pictures of her in her youth are particularly striking. Even in her old age,  Esther still looks pretty good.

Her marriage, if she had one, is entirely left out of the film. There is a mention of her daughter, but we don’t meet her. We do know that she has grandchildren because they make an appearance.

Why I liked this film

Although Esther has been sick, and has a shaky hand, she is still vital. She cares enough about herself to still put on makeup everyday. She still makes jokes, and is the life of the party. She enjoys going to the theater and staying up until 11:00 talking to Geduldig.

It reminds us that just because you’re getting old, you’re still a human being who wants and needs recognition, and has something to contribute. Esther seems like she’d be fun to be around. She still has style, and likes to go out. She hasn’t given up on life, and is a fighter, not a complainer!

The most exciting part of the film was when Geduldig gives Esther a chance to do her stand-up act in front of a crowd, and she gets a standing ovation.

Esther gives me some hope

The one message I got out of the movie is you’re not out of the picture until you take yourself out. Although I’m not close to being 89, I am getting close to 65.  It is a little daunting. I always do have the security of knowing I’m not alone. (The Baby-Boomers are quite a presence.)

It also served as a reminder to really talk to the people you admire while they’re still on this earth. Better yet, use your expensive gadgets to document them

Are there older people in your life who inspire you?

Lisa G & Shelley Berman

Lisa G & Shelley Berman (Photo credit: lisagsf)

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Get Read for the 2012 Columbus Jewish Film Festival


Columbus Jewish Film Festival

If you’re a movie buff, don’t miss the Columbus Jewish Film Festival.  If you’ve never attended this event, you’re missing out on something unmatched in Columbus. It will run from November 4-18. This year two additional days and two films were added to the usual lineup.

Recently, I met with Emily Schuss, Festival Chairperson, and Co-Chairs Linda Katz and Carole Genshaft. (Co-Chair June Frankel was not available.) They talked about the lineup of movies, special events and new programs. The films come from all over the world including: Israel, Germany, Austria, Canada, France and the U.S.

A matinee with two films has been added on Wednesday, November 14. There will be two short subjects, and a movie treat will be included. This would be ideal for seniors or anyone who has their afternoons free.

The film festival doesn’t only bring films to Columbus. After the showing of three films, there will be a Q&A session with either a director, producer, or subject/actor.

Columbus Co-chair Linda Katz said, “Our films are all so wonderful this year, that it’s hard to pick a favorite, but I have. It’s our opening night feature titled ‘My Best Enemy,’ and it’s filled with suspense, comedy, drama, and more.”

“There will be an elegant, champagne dessert reception afterwards at Columbus Museum of Art,” added Genshaft.

All three women are excited about Doc Sunday. If you’ve attended the film festival before, you know this is a day of nothing but documentaries.

One documentary is called “Silent Sunday.” It focuses on the reporter, Phil Jacobs, who uncovered a provocative story about an Orthodox rabbi. “He is one of the people we’re bringing in for a Q and A,” said Schuss.

Barrel Night will be one of the delicious events tied in with the French film, “The Day I Saw your Heart.” People will first have dinner at Barrel 44 on Main Street, and then go on to see the movie at the Drexel Theater.

Closing night will leave you with a good impression, so you’re sure to come back next year. Two outstanding movies, and an Israeli dinner will be featured.

“David” is about a lonely Muslim boy living in New York, who befriends some Yeshiva students. The director, Joel Fendelman, will answer questions after the movie

The final movie,  “Hava Nagila,” (The Movie) will answer many questions about this famous song.  It will travel all over the world and features some performances of the song.  “This movie is a great way to close on an upbeat note,” said Genshaft.

A reel pass at $110  will get you 12 films, two receptions, and a dinner. General admission is $10;  $8  for a senior, student, or JCC member.

For more detailed information about the movies, events, and celebrations, go to  http://www.cjfilmfest.org.