A hero can take many forms - caped crusader Superman is just one of them. Nor do you need a six-pack or supernatural powers to be a hero. The 5th Hong Kong Jewish Film Festival, which will screen 21 films from November 20 to 28, is dedicated to unsung heroes: people - both Jewish and non-Jewish - who risk their lives to rescue the oppressed. 'Why does it seem that every few months, along comes yet another Hollywood film about a masked avenger - someone who takes matters into his or her own hands and rights a few wrongs?' says festival director Howard Elias. 'I think it's because people are looking for a hero right now. There are a lot of problems in the world today and I believe people want to see stories about other people who rise up and save the day. Except that none of these heroes are real!' The universal search for a hero has inspired Elias to present films about 'real heroes' in this year's festival. 'They are everyday people who stand up for the innocent [and] rescue the oppressed, often risking their own life and remaining anonymous to all but a few people. These people make us proud. To me, they are far more interesting than some comic book characters.' A featured documentary is Secret Lives: Hidden Children and Their Rescuers During WWII, directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Aviva Slesin. It tells the story of Jewish children who were saved from the Nazis by non-Jews. Interviews with Catholic couples who brought Jewish children into their homes at great personal risk are featured in the film. Another documentary, Unlikely Heroes, highlights the stories of ordinary people who resisted or stood up to the Nazis during the darkest hours of the Holocaust. A film by director Louis Malle, Au Revoir Les Enfants (Goodbye, Children), reflects on his personal recollections of wartime school days. The movie is about the friendship between a French boy and his Jewish classmate who is being hidden from the Nazis by friars running their school. A secondary theme of the festival is 'Jews in far-flung places' which will be represented by a series of films that deal with the challenges that Jews face when living in faraway places. One of the highlights is Ocho Candelas (Eight Candles) - a film which recounts the history of eight families of Spanish Jews who have been living in Mexico since the 16th century. Although all the featured films have Jewish themes, Elias stressed: 'You don't have to be Jewish to like the films. A good film is a good film, no matter where it comes from. 'Through this film festival, I'm promoting understanding, not the religion. I hope to provide audiences with a chance to understand another culture, to have fun and to think. 'The biggest problem we have in the world today is that we don't take the chance to understand our neighbours. If we could understand our neighbours a little bit better, maybe there won't be so much violence.' The films will be screened at Cine-Art in Wan Chai. Tickets at $60 (adults) and $45 (students) are available on Cityline on 2111 5333. For more information about the festival, visit www.hkjewishfilmfest.org .