Films about tango in Argentina and the life of Vidal Sassoon signal the breadth of experiences explored in the 22nd annual Boston Jewish Film Festival. Find out where to go, what to see and more.

Tango dancers and fashion models aren’t what you’d expect at a Jewish film festival. However, following films about tango in Argentina and the life of Vidal Sassoon, they signal the breadth of experiences explored in the 22nd annual Boston Jewish Film Festival.

“The festival is really lively,” said festival artistic director Sara Rubin. “People may think a Jewish film festival is about the Holocaust and Israel and serious documentaries, but we also have thrillers, romance, comedy and music.”

The dancers, accompanied by Berklee College of Music musicians, follow the screening of “Tango, A Story with Jews,” which shows the influences of Jewish immigrants from Russia on Argentine tango.

The show of fashion from the1960s, organized by Marilyn Riseman, accompanies “Vidal Sassoon: How One Man Changed the World with a Pair of Scissors,” which explores how Sassoon’s creativity and drive were shaped by experiences in a London orphanage and during a hair-cutting apprenticeship in Israel following World War II.

Through Nov. 16, audiences can see 37 feature films, documentaries and shorts at theaters in Framingham, Foxboro, Boston, Brookline, Newton and Arlington. It’s an international collection of recent films from 15 countries, including Argentina, France, Spain, Germany and Poland, in some cases presented by their directors. Three of the directors have ties to Massachusetts, and their films vary from stories about Jews and baseball, Israeli-Palestinian friendships and life in Russia after the collapse of the USSR.

In the Argentine feature film “I Miss You,” the experience is universal as much as Jewish. It’s a semi-autobiographical story of a teenage boy coping with the disappearance of his older brother during the Dirty War of Argentina’s military dictatorship from 1976 to 1983. It expresses the pain and powerlessness of victims of political violence, regardless of background. But it’s also relevant to Jews because Jewish men and women died in high numbers relative to their population, Rubin said.

The intriguing feature film “Little Rose” also explores repression, but has a surprising depiction of Jews. Set in Poland in 1968 during the government’s campaign against Jews, it’s the story of a love triangle between a policeman, a secret agent and a dissident writer. Audiences will get a chance to question Polish director Jan Kidawa-Blonski when he appears at the screening, which also includes a performance by Berklee College of Music musicians.

While most films introduce the audience to new actors and actresses, the Canadian comedy “The Trotsky” stars Jay Baruchel from “Knocked Up,” “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” and other popular films. He plays a high school student who tries to change the world and imagines himself as the socialist Leon Trotsky, whose name he shares.

In another comedic film of mistaken identity, “Oh, What a Mess!” is about a German man who passes for Jewish to please his girlfriend’s parents, until his true identity is discovered. A dessert reception and meeting with director Dirk Regal follows at Finale Desserterie and Bakery.

The festival has a number of biographies of influential people. In addition to the Vidal Sassoon flick, the film “Tell Them Anything You Want” is about Maurice Sendak, the children’s book author and illustrator who hid his homosexuality for years. The film “Ahead of Time” is the story of Ruth Gruber, a New York City journalist who covered the Nuremberg trials and escorted 1,000 Holocaust refugees to New York.

Three French feature films are based on real experiences during World War II. “The Army of Crime” is about the French resistance; “Hidden Children” is about a legal case over custody of Jewish children sheltered during the war by a Catholic Frenchwoman; and “Louise’s Diary 1942,” is about the romance between a Jewish woman and the SS officer who provided false identity papers to Jews.

In another film where people bridge seemingly irreparable differences, Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Lisa Gossels explores the friendship challenges of six Israeli and Palestinian women who met as teens in a leadership program. Gossels, who grew up in Wayland, Mass., will speak about the seven years she followed the women for the film “My So-Called Enemy.”

In a documentary about lives during periods of major political change, Robin Hessman followed Russians who experienced the collapse of the Soviet Union and the unfolding of a new Russia for the film “Perestroika.” It was nominated for a Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.

Although the festival formally ends Nov. 14, look for a repeat screening of a number of films from December through March.

If you go…

What: The Boston Jewish Film Festival
Where: Most films are at the Museum of Fine Arts and Coolidge Corner Theatre; some take place at AMC Framingham, Arlington Capitol Theatre, Showcase Cinema de Lux Patriot Place, Stuart Street Playhouse and West Newton Cinema
When: Nov. 3-14, with pre-festival and post-festival shows tonight through Nov. 16
Admission: $12 adults and $11 for seniors, students and MFA and WGBH members. Opening, mid-festival and closing nights are $25 or $20.
Information: 617-244-9899, Ext. 200; www.bjff.org

Contact Jody Feinberg at jfeinberg@ledger.com.