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Jewish Film Festival brings drama, documentary — and a familiar face

Former St. Louisan Lynn Cohen plays Grandma in the film "The Pickle Recipe."
Provided | Jewish Film Festival
Former St. Louisan Lynn Cohen plays Grandma in the film "The Pickle Recipe."

The St. Louis Jewish Film Festival is celebrating 22 years of cinema that explores historical and modern-day Jewish themes.

One of the 16 movies in this year’s schedule features an actor who influenced a generation of St. Louis theater professionals — and is also known for her role in “Sex in the City.”

Kansas City native Lynn Cohen stars in a comedy about the quest for a grandmother’s secret pickling formula.  Festival organizer Zelda Sparks said some St. Louisans may recognize Cohen from the local Jewish Community Center, where she directed youth theater in the 1970s.

“She worked with a lot of young people who, she informs me, are now in their 50s,” Sparks said.

‘A human connection’

Cohen plays Grandma in the film, “The Pickle Recipe,” showing at 1 p.m., Wednesday. She won’t be able to attend the St. Louis screening because she’s busy opening a stage show called "The Traveling Lady" by Horton Foote, at The Cherry Lane Theatre in Greenwich Village.

Cohen left St. Louis for New York in the early 1980s to launch a film, stage and TV career that now spans almost 40 years. Her credits include “Sex and the City," in which she played Magda, housekeeper/nanny for Miranda.

Cohen also had a role in the movie “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and TV shows “Nurse Jackie” and “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.”

Here's a preview of Cohen in "The Pickle Recipe." (Story continues, below)

The festival also includes films such as “Joe’s Violin,” which documents the journey of an instrument originally purchased with a pack of cigarettes, and “Breakfast at Ina’s,” about the final days of a legendary Chicago café and its iconic owner.

Films showings continue at Plaza Frontenac Cinema through Thursday.

Although the festival doesn’t highlight other ethnicities and religions, Sparks said its messages are universal.

“These are films that have a Jewish connection but they have a human connection,” she said. “And we think that everyone in the community can relate to aspects of any of these films.”

If you go:

Jewish Film Festival

Runs through Thursday, June 8

Plaza Frontenac Cinema, 1701 S. Lindbergh Blvd.

Tickets are $13 and available online and at the box office

Follow Nancy on Twitter: @NancyFowlerSTL

Nancy is a veteran journalist whose career spans television, radio, print and online media. Her passions include the arts and social justice, and she particularly delights in the stories of people living and working in that intersection.

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