Film

A Grunt’s-Eye-View Of Modern Combat

Samuel Fuller’s WWII epic ‘The Big Red One’ raises big moral questions.

09/25/2012
Special To The Jewish Week

Lee Marvin in “The Big Red One.” Warner Brothers

Memory, History And Albert Speer

Dani Gal’s video installation, ‘As from Afar.’

09/24/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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It would be hard to conceive of a more controversial figure in the Nazi inner circle than Albert Speer. One of Hitler’s closest confidantes, Speer was a master architect who had the ear of the failed-artist-turned-Führer. He was an integral part of the totality that was Nazi Germany, the chief creator of the Nazi public aesthetic, as well as the minister of armaments and munitions from 1942 on. Yet Speer was one of the very few high-ranking Nazis to declare his own guilt and shame publicly and to reveal the inner workings of the German government under Hitler in his memoirs.

In Dani Gal's "As From Afar," at The Jewish Museum, actors portray a post-World War II meeting.

Godard Goes 3-D, The Safdies Take To The Streets

‘Goodbye to Language’ and ‘Heaven Knows What’ tackle Hitler and heroin at New York Film Festival.

09/24/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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Note: This is the first of two articles on Jewish-themed works in this year’s New York Film Festival.

Homeless heroin addicts and Hitler: Sounds like a typical opening week for the New York Film Festival, huh?

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When A Hamas ‘Prince’ Turns

The complex relationship between a Palestinian spy and his Israeli handler forms the basis of ‘The Green Prince.’

09/16/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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As the great American journalist I.F. Stone once said, “All governments lie,” and they never lie more freely than when they are conducting the business of spying. For all the professions of national, professional and tribal loyalties that are earnestly voiced throughout Nadav Schirman’s documentary film “The Green Prince,” which opens Sept. 12, it is ultimately personal loyalty that governs the behavior of its protagonists. That outcome feels entirely appropriate in a film about the hallucinatory world of counter-intelligence, double agents, lies and betrayals that Mosab Hassan Yousef and Gonen Ben Yitzhak inhabit. When everyone around you is a professional liar, you have to trust the person who tells you the truth, however reluctantly.

Mosab Hassan Yousef and Gonen Ben Yitzhak as spy and handler in “The Green Prince.”  Courtesy of Music Box Films

Film Review: 'This Is Where I Leave You'

Grassroots critic Joan Alperin takes on the Jewiest movie out there. Spoiler: She absolutely love love love love loves it.

When A Hamas ‘Prince’ Turns

The complex relationship between a Palestinian spy and his Israeli handler forms the basis of ‘The Green Prince.’

09/10/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
Story Includes Video: 
0

As the great American journalist I.F. Stone once said, “All governments lie,” and they never lie more freely than when they are conducting the business of spying. For all the professions of national, professional and tribal loyalties that are earnestly voiced throughout Nadav Schirman’s documentary film “The Green Prince,” which opens Sept. 12, it is ultimately personal loyalty that governs the behavior of its protagonists. That outcome feels entirely appropriate in a film about the hallucinatory world of counter-intelligence, double agents, lies and betrayals that Mosab Hassan Yousef and Gonen Ben Yitzhak inhabit. When everyone around you is a professional liar, you have to trust the person who tells you the truth, however reluctantly.

Mosab Hassan Yousef and Gonen Ben Yitzhak in “The Green Prince.” Courtesy of Music Box Films

Two Takes On The Shoah And Its Aftermath

‘Le Grand Cahier (The Notebook)’ and ‘Shadows from My Past’ at the Quad.

08/27/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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The end of the First World War brought about the dismantling of both the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires as well as the peace settlement that made possible both the rise of the Nazis and the chaotic creation of the modern Middle East. With the rather ironic conjunction of the latest outbreaks of violence in the Middle East and the centenary of the First World War, it is impossible not to note that two vastly different films about the Shoah and its aftermath are opening on Aug. 29 at the same multiplex. Each film came from one of the First World War’s biggest losers. A drama released in its home country in 2013, “Le Grand Cahier (The Notebook),” directed by János Szász from the novel by Agota Kristof, was made in Hungary; the new documentary “Shadows from My Past” is the work of Gita Kaufman, an Austrian Jew who escaped the Nazis as a child, and her husband and co-director Curt Kaufman, and focuses specifically on the Jewish-Austrian experience.

The identical twins at the center of “Le Grand Cahier (The Notebook”). Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Long, Strange Trip To Enlightenment

A secular Jew journeys into the world of Jewish mysticism in ‘Kabbalah Me.’

08/19/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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If there is a more unlikely purveyor of Kabbalah than Steven Bram it’s hard to imagine who it might be. Bram, the producer, co-director, narrator and protagonist of the new film “Kabbalah Me,” which opens on Aug. 22, is a producer of sports films, a Jets and Rangers fan and a secular Jew who was raised in the classical Reform tradition. But when he approached his 50th birthday, he began to wonder about “the spiritual secrets of the universe.” He asked himself, “What am I doing here?” and realized that he didn’t have an answer.

Director Steven Bram dancing with chasids in Meron, Israel, during Lag b’Omer festival.

A Filmmaker Shaped By War

New film documents life and work of Samuel Fuller, who helped liberate the camps.

07/29/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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Samuel Fuller held the distinction of being the only Hollywood filmmaker/GI who participated in the liberation of a Nazi concentration camp at the end of World War II. Already in his early 30s, Fuller (whose family name was changed from Rabinowitz before he was born) had logged several screenwriting credits before he volunteered in the wake of Pearl Harbor; his mother would send him a 16mm movie camera while he was overseas with the 1st U.S. Infantry, and with it he shot footage of his buddies, of the brutal combat he endured over the course of four years and, inevitably, of the camp at Falkenau.

Samuel Fuller on the set, in a scene from “A Fuller Life.”  Courtesy of MoMA.

‘Wish’: Hits, And Misses

Zach Braff plays dreamer, family man in new film chock-full of Jewish references.

07/22/2014
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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In “Wish I Was Here,” Zach Braff’s character, Aidan Bloom, has a question that many Jewish parents share. How am I going to pay the children’s yeshiva tuition?

An image from Braff's Kickstarter campaign, which helped finance the film. Via Kickstarter.com
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