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What to watch at Las Vegas’ largest film festival

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Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life

The Details

Las Vegas Jewish Film Festival
January 13-27, various days & times, $10 per screening, passes $50
Adelson Educational Campus, Official Sitelvjff.org

Now in its 12th year, the Las Vegas Jewish Film Festival is the biggest and longest-running film festival in town, all the more impressive given its focus on a fairly narrow audience. The secret to the festival, run by CineVegas co-founder Joshua Abbey, is that its programming appeals to anyone who appreciates thoughtful, artistic cinema. Each year, Abbey does a great job of bringing to town documentaries, foreign films and other alternative fare that might never otherwise play in Las Vegas. Here’s a look at a few highlights from this year’s festival.

Hava Nagila (The Movie) This documentary explores the roots and themes of the catchiest song in Judaism, with interviewees including Harry Belafonte, Leonard Nimoy and Regina Spektor. January 20, 1 p.m.

Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life This unconventional biopic of French singer-songwriter Serge Gainsbourg, directed by comic-book creator Joann Sfar, won three awards at France’s equivalent of the Oscars, and chronicles Gainsbourg’s life, from his upbringing in Nazi-occupied France through his love affairs with women including Brigitte Bardot. January 26, 7 p.m.

Life in Stills Abbey cites this Israeli documentary as a personal favorite. It follows the efforts of a 96-year-old woman and her grandson to save her late husband’s photo archive from destruction and preserve the visual history of Israel he documented over three decades. January 27, 3:30 p.m.

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