Jewish films at the Gene Siskel Film Center in January

Gene Siskel Film Center kicks off the New Year with several Jewish-themed films.  For more information on other films playing at GSFC,  please visit

Chicago premiere! Adapted from the quirky French comic books of Joann Sfar, The Rabbi's Cat (January 4 - 17), a delightful adult-targeted animation film, is set in Algiers in 1920 where a rabbi's lean and feisty cat miraculously gains the gift of speech along with a witty intelligence and sly philosophical bent. His crush on his master's voluptuous daughter temporarily thwarted, the curious feline becomes party to the rabbi's adventures on a trip through the Sahara in search of a lost Ethiopian city. Filmmakers Antoine Delesvaux (Gainsbourg) and Joann Sfar stir up a wild and provocative mix of cultural and religious confrontations mediated by humor. With voices by Francois Morel, Maurice Benichou, Mathieu Amalric and Hafsia Herzi.

 In French with English subtitles.

The Flat (January 4 - 10) is a gripping detective story leading to astonishing revelations that are all true. It begins with filmmaker Arnon Goldfinger cleaning out the Tel Aviv apartment of his recently deceased German-born mother. Among the books and shoes, he discovers evidence closely linking his Zionist grandparents to a high-ranking Nazi, both before and--more surprisingly--after the war. Following a trail that leads to the Nazi's surviving daughter, he discovers a shattering secret that raises far-reaching issues of denial, selective memory and survival.

In Hebrew, German, and English with English subtitles.

Chicago premiere! La Rafle (January 18-24): Scenes of carefree children at play in the streets of Montmartre in the early summer of 1942 give way to the darkness of the imminent threat for the Jews of Paris in this heart-rending drama in which every one of the more than 70 central characters is based upon fact. Through the eyes of 11-year-old Jo and his siblings, director Rose Bosch meticulously reconstructs the roundup of 13,000 Jews, who were then confined to a stadium in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower without the most basic human necessities, only the first step in their French government-mandated journey towards death. A world-weary Jean Reno plays the harried Jewish doctor who attempts to minister to the captives, aided by the young Protestant nurse (Mélanie Laurent) whose eyes are newly opened to the tragedy.

 In French with English subtitles.

All screenings and events are at the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, located at 164 N. State St.

Tickets to each screening--unless stated otherwise--are $11/general admission, $7/students, and $6/Film Center members. All tickets may be purchased at the Film Center Box Office. Both general admission and Film Center member tickets are available through Ticketmaster, 800-982-2787,, and all Ticketmaster outlets. The Film Center and its box office are open 5:00 to 8:30 pm, Monday through Friday; 2:00 to 8:30 pm Saturday; and 2:00 to 5:30 pm Sunday.

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