Highlights of Atlanta Jewish Film Festival feature literary cred

Founded in 2000, the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival this year features films that highlight literary credentials, including ‘Good’ starring Viggo Mortensen and ‘Will Eisner: Portrait of a Sequential Artist.’

Every year since 2000, the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival has reliably presented the diversity of movies by Jewish artists or otherwise reflecting the Jewish experience. This year, films relevant to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict range from Alan Dershowitz’s legalistic documentary The Case for Israel to the family friendly drama The Little Traitor, starring Alfred Molina.

The 2009 festival runs Jan. 14-25 and includes 48 narrative and documentary features and shorts representing 20 nations. This year’s program particularly conveys the breadth of other art forms involving Jewish themes, as viewed through the prism of cinema. It’s like the filmmakers’ cameras stand on the foundation of Jewish culture.

One of festival’s highest-profile screenings is the Atlanta debut of Good (3 stars), an adaptation of a 1981 play by late English playwright C.P. Taylor. Viggo Mortensen plays John Halder, a German novelist and literary professor who understandably worries when his work draws the attention of Hitler’s government in the mid-1930s. A smooth-talking member of the Reich (RocknRolla’s Mark Strong) expresses interest in Halder’s treatment of euthanasia in a novel and asks the writer to draft a paper on the subject.