June 1, 2024

Four Queer Jewish Films to Watch This Pride Month

This Pride Month is the perfect time to celebrate the intersectionality between the LGBTQ+ and Jewish communities. And what better way than to sit back and watch some films that embrace and reckon with these identities?

Here are the highlights:

  • The Cakemaker – An award-winning Israeli drama featuring a sexually fluid love triangle
  • Aimee & Jaguar – Based on the true story of love between a Jewish woman and the wife of a Nazi during WWII.
  • Minyan – The 80s coming-of-age story of a young gay man in an Orthodox world
  • The Swimmer – A neon-drenched athletic competition takes a turn when one swimmer starts to have feelings for another.

The Cakemaker: delicious baked goods and broken hearts

This intense, slow-burning drama swept the 2018 Ophir Awards, aka the Israeli Oscars) taking home seven prizes including Best Picture. And for good reason.

The moving tale sees a married Israeli businessman, Oren, who visits Berlin for work and falls in love with a German baker, Thomas. After Oren’s tragic death, Thomas is distraught and travels to Jerusalem. There, he finds a job at a cafe run by Oren’s widow Anat, played by Sarah Adler, who won Best Actress at the Ophir Awards for her heartbreaking performance.

As Thomas and Anat grieve, they slowly discover they might have feelings for each other.

The characters never put labels on their feelings, they just slowly and belivably fall in love, traversing boundaries of nationality, religion, language, and defined sexuality, all while making delicious baked goods. From the cinematography to the sound design, every aspect of this film is beautiful - and did I mention award-winning?

Stream The Cakemaker now on ChaiFlicks

Aimée & Jaguar: World War II drama meets lesbian love story

Two women, one Jewish and the other German, fall in love in 1943 Berlin. This film is based on the true love story of Felice Schragenheim, a Jewish member of the underground resistance, and Lilly Wust, the wife of a Nazi officer and mother to four children.

Maria Schrader, who went on to direct “Unorthodox,” stars as Felice, a free-spirited young woman who signs her anonymous love letters to Lily with the pseudonym “Jaguar.”

The challenges of survival in Nazi Germany are heightened to a bone-chilling degree when the characters resist against the government, infiltrate Berlin’s high society, and engage in taboo lesbian relationships.

Stream Maria Schrader's Aimée & Jaguar on ChaiFlicks

Minyan: A Coming-of-age Story

David and his grandfather are approved to live in an apartment so long as they agree to help make minyan – a quorum for daily Jewish prayers. David befriends a closeted gay senior couple in the building who have made the same arrangement.

In this meditative drama set in 1980s Brooklyn, David explores his Jewish and gay identity against the backdrop of the growing AIDS crisis. David roams between an Orthodox Yeshiva, a gay bar, and everywhere in between as he tries to find his place in the world.

Stream Minyan on ChaiFlicks

The Swimmer: A queer sports story

In the competitive world of potential Israeli Olympains, friendship between the swimmers is forbidden. And queer relationships between the athletes is certainly out of the question. So when the closeted Erez starts to have feelings for his rival Nevo, Erez must wrestle his ambitions in the swimming pool with his sexual desires.

Neon blues and pinks abound, as do shirtless men, if that’s what your into. (Sometimes they’re more than shirtless.) A funky indie-pop soundtrack by the Penelopes, plus the occasional dance number, make the film a high-energy watch.

Check out this colorful tale of forbidden attraction and self-acceptance set in the most colorful training camp you’ve ever seen.

Stream The Swimmer on ChaiFlicks