Kindertransport Film Elides Hero's Role

Matej Minac’s ‘Nicky’s Family’ is director’s third film about Shoah-era efforts of Sir Nicholas Winton, Holocaust rescuer and baptized former Jew.
07/18/2013 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Matej Minac has made the story of Sir Nicholas Winton his life’s work. “Nicky’s Family,” Minac’s new documentary, which opens on July 19, is his third feature film as a director. Each of his films has been a reworking of Winton’s story.

Children rescued by Nicholas Winton leaving Prague, in scene from “Nicky’s Family.”

'Comedians In Cars' Gets Coffee, And Laughs

07/08/2013 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

“Seinfeld” is the second or third best scripted show of all-time, according to The Writers Guild of America and Entertainment Weekly. So how do you top that? Not in a sitcom.

Jerry Seinfeld and David Letterman

The Rewards And Limits Of Home Movies

Eliav Lilti’s found-footage documentary about Israel is poignant but also arbitrary.
07/01/2013 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

There is an ineradicable quality of melancholy in old home movies. If they’re your own, you can’t help but yearn for a younger, more energetic and healthier version of yourself, and for the ghostly images of family and friends long dead to take corporeal form once more. But even the home movies of total strangers call out to us with reminders of the evanescence of human existence. When you look at film footage of some stranger’s young son leaving a factory in Birmingham, England, in 1912, it is impossible not to wonder if he would be dead in the trenches only two or three years later.

A couple of newlyweds and an Independence Day celebration: Scenes from “Israel: A Home Movie.” Photos courtesy of Alma Films

Museum Piece

Jem Cohen’s contemplative new film is a rich tapestry of art history and human communication set in a Vienna museum.
06/24/2013 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

The world is a palimpsest, a densely layered series of texts to be deciphered and read by all who live there. The sages of the Talmud seemed to think so, the great modernist Jewish writers surely thought so, and Jem Cohen, whose new film “Museum Hours” opens June 28, clearly agrees.

Bobby Sommer in Jem Cohen’s “Museum Hours.” Photo courtesy Cinema Guild

‘The Whole Experience Opened My Eyes’

The making of the nuanced ‘The Attack,’ with a crew of Israelis and Palestinians, gave Ziad Doueiri a new view of the Jewish state.
06/17/2013 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Ziad Doueiri is nothing if not frank.

“I’m pissed off,” the Lebanese-born filmmaker says. “They think they’re punishing Israel. Well, they’re punishing me.”

“The Attack,” Photos courtesy of Cohen Film Collection

A Different Kind Of ‘Aliyah’

Elie Wajeman’s first feature is French New Wave-ish.
06/10/2013 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

For many Jews, making aliyah is a response to a commandment, an edict from the Creator. And for some, it’s an escape from a life that has spiraled out of control. That would seem to be one of the messages of the new French film “Aliyah,” directed and co-written by Elie Wajeman. It’s a deft, smart first feature and, not surprisingly, Wajeman’s protagonist seems doomed to find that the problems he will encounter in Tel Aviv are not so different from the ones he is leaving behind in Paris.

Pio Marmai and Cedric Kahn in scene from “Aliyah.” Below, Kahn and Adele Haenel.

Are The Igbos Of Nigeria Jewish?

Engaging, if messy, documentary seeks to answer the question.
05/27/2013 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

“Re-Emerging: The Jews of Nigeria” is one of those peculiar documentary films that makes a sort of nonsense of everything I know about film and art. On the one hand the film, which is produced, written, directed, shot and edited by Jeff L. Lieberman, is a baggy, often shapeless mess, meandering and repetitive, filled with side roads that lead nowhere and a narration that borders on the amateur.

 Rabbi Howard Gorin, right, from Rockville, Md., reads from the Torah to a group of  Nigerian Ibos, in scene from “Re-Emerging:

Haredi Family’s Secrets Revealed

Rama Burshtein is a product of the haredi Tel Aviv world she depicts warmly in 'Fill the Void,' opening in theaters.
05/23/2013 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

When it played last fall’s New York Film Festival, Rama Burshtein’s debut feature, “Fill the Void,” was one of the great surprises of the autumn, a stunningly poised and mature first film that heralded the first major talent to emerge from the haredi film community in Israel. Now that the film has opened theatrically in New York, it looks — if anything — even better.

The film explores, but doesn't exploit, a family's secrets.

A Too-Distant ‘Hannah Arendt’

Film on The New Yorker writer’s coverage of the Eichmann trial lacks some passion.
05/21/2013 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

At a time when too many homegrown films check their brains at the door to the theater, and the tone of political discourse in America has become unspeakably shrill, it might seem churlish to complain that a new film suffers from too much abstract discussion and a certain lack of passion.

Barbara Sukowa as Hannah Arendt covering the Eichmann trial in Margarethe von Trotta’s “Hannah Arendt.” Zeitgeist Films

Two States For Two People?

New documentary looks at the chances for a deal between the Israelis and Palestinians.
05/13/2013 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

The cover of the latest issue of Moment Magazine asks, “Is the Two-State Solution Dead?” Israeli documentarian Dan Setton approaches the same question in his new film “State 194,” opening on May 17, with a sober, somber tread befitting the slow-motion train wreck that Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations have become.

Former PA Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad in scene from “State 194.”
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