When Gottfried Met Hanoch

‘Dreaming Child’ an engaging yet frustrating look at a Holocaust-themed collaboration.

Special to the Jewish Week

The collaboration of world-class painters and opera companies is an old story by now, but remains a fascinating object of study nonetheless. Chagall, Hockney, Dali, Cocteau, Picasso — the list of those who designed opera sets encompasses some of the greatest visual artists of the 20th century.

Gottfried Helnwein painting in his Los Angeles studio, in scene from "Dreaming Child." Courtesy First Run Features

Courting Controversy

Ra’anan Alexandrowicz’s documentary raises thorny questions about the court system in the occupied West Bank.

Special to the Jewish Week
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The legal system of the occupied West Bank is something of a conundrum. The tenets of international law that govern the actions of an occupying power are fairly straightforward, but they weren’t designed for a situation that has lasted 45 years.

“The Law in These Parts” director Ra’anan Alexandrowicz. Courtesy of Cinema Guild

A New Perspective On ‘The Roundup’

Rose Bosch’s film ‘La Rafle,’ puts the focus on the Jewish characters caught up in the infamous sweep in Vichy-occupied Paris.

Special To The Jewish Week

The degree to which European nations have acknowledged their complicity in the crimes of the Nazis varies wildly to this day. Allowing for the comparative size of its film industry, you can tell by the degree and number of feature films on the subject that a country produces just how willing it is to deal with guilt for the murder of six million Jews.

Scene from “La Rafle,” in which Jews are rounded up and taken to a velodrome.

‘A Happy Childhood In A Sea Of Blood’

‘Hitler’s Children’ looks at the Holocaust from a much-needed and very different perspective.

Special to the Jewish Week

The Torah enjoins us to honor our parents. But if your forebears were monstrous criminals who killed hundreds of thousands, even millions, what is your responsibility?

Niklis Frank has written a scathing book about his father, Hans Frank, head of the Nazi government in occupied Poland.

‘Otherness’ Moves Beyond Israel

‘One Day After Peace’ subtly broadens the reach of The Other Israel Film Festival.

Special to the Jewish Week

Emmanuel Levinas, one of the central Jewish thinkers of the 20th century, argued that by seeing the face of another we are forced to acknowledge our involvement with the Other. As Levinas writes in one of the most famous passages in his work, such a vision involves recognition of a shared humanity and a shared mortality.

“One Day After Peace” centers on the work of Truth and Reconciliation Commission in post-apartheid South Africa.

Are You My Mother?

With the birth of an orchestra, a baby mix-up and a surreal hiking trip, three films explore the Jewish condition.

Special to the Jewish Week

This weekend sees the theatrical opening of a rather oddly assorted trio of Jewish films: a thoughtful if rather conventional historical documentary, a melodrama that takes on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as literal family feud and a beautifully wrought mood piece that mixes lush visuals with starkly private emotional states to considerable effect.

Scene from Julia Loktev’s “The Loneliest Planet.”

The High Priestess of Anarchy


“Anarchism,” the Lithuanian Jewish activist Emma Goldman predicted in her autobiography, “will make an end to the struggle for the means of existence.” In Lorna Lable’s one-woman show, “Emma Goldman: My Life,” a poor girl’s dream to free all of humanity from suffering and want comes vividly to life.

Lorna Lable as Emma Goldman. Gayle Stahlhuth

The Departed

Arnon Goldfinger’s new documentary often uses wit to examine Shoah’s effect on the ones who got away.

Special to the Jewish Week

Mishpokhe. Familia. Family. Oy.

Israeli documentary filmmaker Arnon Goldfinger knows from family. His first major film released in the United States was “The Komediant” (2002), about the great Yiddish entertainer Pesach Burstein and his extended family, seemingly all of which was also on the musical stage. His latest film, “The Flat,” which played Tribeca and opens theatrically on Oct. 19, forces him to focus closer to home, on his own (over-) extended family, and he does so to great effect.

A treasure trove of artifacts left behind by Goldfinger's grandmother.

‘Simon And The Oaks’ Has Too Many Branches

Swedish film, set during the Nazi era, suffers from inconsistency.

Special To The Jewish Week

The nuclear family breeds secrets, lies, resentment and anguish. The Jews have known that since Eve enticed Adam with a lunch snack. The entire book of Genesis is a catalog of such behaviors, and it could be argued that all Western literature has followed its example. It would be absurd to expect filmmakers to do otherwise.

In Lisa Ohlin's film, the lives of a working-class boy and the son of wealthy Jewish refugees intersect in World War II Sweden.

Magic, L’ Dor-V-Dor

N.Y. Film Festival documentary looks at the life of prestidigitator Ricky Jay.

Special to the Jewish Week

Once the walls of the ghetto came down, the range of career opportunities for Jews became similar to the one for non-Jews. Even with the burdens of anti-Semitic quota systems, the Jewish people have made a global impact in the physics, medicine, government, literature, the visual arts and — magic.

Magic, you say? Well, there was Harry Houdini, born Erich Weiss, a rabbi’s son but...
Yes, there was Houdini, but he was only the most prominent of many Jewish practitioners of the mysteries of prestidigitation.

Ricky Jay in scene from “Deceptive Practices.”
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