To prepare you for 21st year of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, completely virtual-for-the-first time as you’ve never seen before, we bring you 21 previews spotlighting the breath of films offered for your home viewing. The films, which represent more than half of those in the AJFF lineup Feb. 17-28, include classics, intimate family dramas, upbeat comedy and historic documentaries. Sit back and relax as the AJFF brings us together through film.
Yakov is a young man who has left his Chasidic community. One night, a rabbi friend asks him for a favor: will he act as a shomer, performing the Jewish ritual of watching over the body of a man who recently died.
Yakov is struggling to make ends meet and agrees to the task. How difficult can it be to just sit in the house with a dead body? What Yakov does not realize is that the man had been possessed by an evil spirit, … a spirit that now wants to find a new host. Creepy, tense, claustrophobic, and dripping with atmosphere, the audience feels trapped alongside Yakov. Featuring a great lead performance by Dave Davis, the film is also notable as one of the last pictures to feature Lynn Cohen (“Sex and the City,” “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” and dozens of other films) as the wife of the deceased man.
The AJFF tries to have one horror film a year in the festival and, in my opinion, “The Vigil” is the best yet. Even though I am not usually a fan of horror films, I was captivated by this one and could not tear my eyes from the screen. For months after seeing this film I had nightmares about it and was convinced I was seeing something strange in the shadows around my house, … which probably makes it a “must see” for some of you and a “must avoid” for others.