New York Jewish Film Festival

The ‘Deli Man’ Cometh To Times Square

01/21/2015
Special To The Jewish Week

This is a busman’s holiday for Ziggy Gruber. The round-faced restaurateur from Houston (Texas, not Street), is sitting in Ben’s Kosher Delicatessen Restaurant, an enormous and bustling kosher deli near Times Square, talking Jewish food and chatting about his movie debut in the new documentary film “Deli Man.”

Ziggy Gruber of Houston’s popular Kenny and Ziggy’s deli, at Ben’s this week. Michael Datikash

A Little Cinematic Home Cooking

Documentaries on Jews in the performing arts and the latest from Daniel Burman.

01/20/2015
Special To The Jewish Week

Note: This is the third of three articles on this year’s New York Jewish Film Festival.

One of the comforting aspects of a film festival designed around a theme is that there will be certain familiar standbys. With the New York Jewish Film Festival, wrapping up its 24th annual event, one is drawn to two regular aspects of home cooking: the presence of a director who can be counted on for a reliably intelligent film, and the inevitable documentaries about Jews in the performing arts.

Sophie Tucker with longtime accompanist Ted Shapiro in “Gay Love.” Menemsha Films

Israeli Films, Front And Center

The Elkabetzes’ ‘Gett,’ two from Yossi Aviram and the latest Amos Gitai offering show off the country’s cinematic creativity.

01/13/2015
Special To The Jewish Week

Note: This is the second of three articles on this year’s New York Jewish Film Festival.

In the first of three articles on this year’s New York Jewish Film Festival, now underway at Lincoln Center, the continuing growth of the event was attributed in part to the splendid creative effulgence of the Israeli film industry during the nearly quarter-century of the festival’s existence. This year’s festival, the 24th annual, is an excellent example, with the final film in a splendid trilogy and a debut feature of consummate art and feeling contributed by Israeli filmmakers.

Ronit Elkabetz as Viviane Amsalem in “Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem,”: Courtesy of Music Box Films DUNE: Filmsdupoisson

A Film Festival’s Growing Reach

From the Israeli air force, to a Houston deli, to I.B. Singer, non-fiction cinema is key to the Jewish Film Festival.

01/06/2015
Special To The Jewish Week

Note: This is the first of three articles on this year’s New York Jewish Film Festival.

As the New York Jewish Film Festival nears the quarter-century mark with its 24th annual edition opening on Wednesday, Jan. 14, the surprise isn’t the event’s longevity. Backed by two formidable New York institutions, The Jewish Museum and the Film Society of Lincoln Center, and located in an urban center that includes a goodly percentage of the world’s Jews, the failure of such a program would be more of a shock.

Scenes from “The Muses of Isaac Bashevis Singer,” above, “Above and Beyond,” top right, and “Deli Man,” right.

‘Waltzing’ Into The Future With Bashir's New Film

‘Waltzing With Bashir’ director’s new science-fiction film, five years in the making, is a confusing vision; films about Amy Winehouse, ‘the Jewish Cardinal’ and a Molly Picon retrospective.

01/07/2014
Special To The Jewish Week

This is the second of three articles on this year’s N.Y. Jewish Film Festival.

Ari Folman’s 2008 animated film “Waltz With Bashir” was a breakthrough effort on many levels, one of a series of Israeli films to be nominated for the best foreign-language Academy Award, and a tough-minded work that helped forge a new subgenre of animated documentaries; it was a film that confirmed what some of us knew for a long time — that a “cartoon” could be serious and demanding. Anyone with an interest in film was eagerly awaiting Folman’s next project.

BBC documentary about the late Amy Winehouse focuses on one of her concerts.

NY Jewish Film Festival Goes In Fresh Directions

‘Sorrow and the Pity’ director’s new film memoir is a highlight of first week of this year's festival.

12/31/2013
Special To The Jewish Week

Note: This is the first of three articles on this year’s N.Y. Jewish Film Festival.

Now in its 23rd year, the New York Jewish Film Festival, which opens on Jan. 8, is not only one of the oldest such events in the world, it is also becoming one of the biggest. With this year’s festival, the Film Society of Lincoln Center and The Jewish Museum are adding several sidebar events that will take them in some interesting new directions. Ultimately, what really matters is less the ambition of the programmers than the quality of the films they select.

Howie Mandel is one of the comics interviewed in Alan Zweig’s “When Jews Were Funny."

Life Is A Cabaret

Understanding the Jewish past, in the form of a German bandleader in Israel and the theatrical world the Nazis destroyed in Berlin.

01/15/2013
Special to the Jewish Week

The musical thread that began this year’s New York Jewish Film Festival (with films about blues singer Doc Pomus and the iconic song “Hava Nagila,” among others) has persisted quite charmingly into the annual event’s final week.

Max Raabe’s Palast-Orchester in “Max Raabe in Israel.”

Light And Dark At N.Y. Jewish Film Fest

Week 2 offerings move from the Shoah to an Israeli counter-terrorism force to Joe Papp and ‘Hava Nagila.’

01/08/2013
Special to the Jewish Week

If the first week of the New York Jewish Film Festival was largely about music, both as reality and metaphor, the second is a spectrum that ranges from dark to light, 

Scenes from  “Numbered,” .

‘Hava Nagila,’ The Film

Documentary chronicles song’s journey from shtetl to cliché.

01/08/2013

You’re at a wedding or bar mitzvah, mingling at the bar or catching up with a distant relative,

“Hava Nagila (The Movie)”. Courtesy “Have Nagila The Movie”

Svigals, Lerner Team Up On Score For Silent Film

Mix of klezmer and modernism as accompaniment to ‘The Yellow Ticket.’

01/02/2013
Special To The Jewish Week

Alicia Svigals, one of the great klezmer violinists working today, had written music for feature films and documentaries before, so she thought she knew what she was getting into when someone suggested she score a silent film. “The Yellow Ticket” is a 1918 German-made drama, restored under the auspices of the Foundation for Jewish Culture.

Silent no more: Pola Negri and Guido Herzfeld in the 1918 “The Yellow Ticket.”  Courtesy of Deutsches Filminstitut
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