Common Chords At N.Y. Jewish Film Festival

A number of the offerings, from “AKA Doc Pomus” to “Kol Nidre,” pivot on music.
01/01/2013 - 19:00
Special to the Jewish Week

Dan Edelstyn and his wife, Hillary Powell, with their vodka in “How to Re-Establish a Vodka Empire.”  Tim Sullivan

From The Shtetl To The Great White Way

PBS documentary traces the Jewish underpinnings of the Broadway musical.
12/25/2012 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

In his best-selling book, “The Gifts of the Jews,” Thomas Cahill claims that monotheism, the Western system of justice and the idea of democracy are all Jewish inventions.

Scene from “West Side Story” .

The Lubitsch-Wilder Connection

As ‘Ninotchka’ gets a weeklong run, considering the two great comedy directors.
12/25/2012 - 19:00
Special to the Jewish Week

It would only be a slight exaggeration to say that Billy Wilder worshipped Ernst Lubitsch. On the wall in Wilder’s office years after Lubitsch’s death hung a sign that read, “What would Lubitsch do?” Wilder’s best work as a comedy director is indebted to Lubitsch’s visual inventiveness and lightness of touch. The verbal fireworks, however, were Wilder’s own.

Greta Garbo and Melvyn Douglas in "Ninotchka."

The Magnificent Seven (Films, That Is)

Our film critic sizes up the year in Jewish-themed cinema.
12/18/2012 - 19:00
Special to the Jewish Week

Contrary to all the rather tedious doomsayers, film is not dead.

The Rabbi's Cat

Kipa Cat

‘The Rabbi’s Cat’ brings back a long-missed dauntless energy to animated film.
12/04/2012 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

What has been missing from the tidal wave of animated features released theatrically in the past decade is the anarchic wit of the great Warner Brothers cartoons of the 1940s and ’50s. Somehow it is less than surprising that one of the rare examples of that kind of manic energy and total disregard for propriety comes from outside the U.S., but Joann Sfar’s “The Rabbi’s Cat” is precisely the kind of film that our homegrown animation directors seem incapable of making now.

Scene from “The Rabbi’s Cat,” at the International Children’s Film Festival.

A Lens On Alt-Jews

‘Punk Jews’ profiles some out-of-the-box folks asserting their Jewish unique identities.
12/03/2012 - 19:00
Special to the Jewish Week

“Punk Jews,” the new documentary having its world premiere at the JCC in Manhattan on Dec. 11, has the peculiar feel of a version of “60 Minutes” concocted by the demented offspring of some MTV producer and a wonder-working chasidic mystic. Only an hour long, the film is the work of a team of Emmy Award-winners, led by director Jesse Zook Mann, and it definitely looks like a pilot for an expansive TV news magazine-type show, although it is hard to imagine what audience demographic it would attract.

“Punk Jews” producer Evan Kleinman filming Y-Love, the African-American-Jewish hip hop artist.

About Wagner, Fry Buries His Ears In The Sand

In his ‘Wagner & Me’, the British actor seems tone deaf to the German composer’s anti-Semitism.
12/03/2012 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

If they recognize his name, most Americans will think of Stephen Fry as the brilliant comic actor who has frequently paired with Hugh Laurie (of “House” fame), or the Anglo-Jewish polymath whose BBC excursions have covered everything from the mysteries of the English language to the peculiarities of American society. He’s a novelist and a stage actor of note. That Fry is Jewish and also a great lover of the music of Richard Wagner seems a contradiction; and it is the subject of a new film, “Wagner & Me,” which opens on Dec. 7.

Stephen Fry listens to a performance of Wagner’s “Träume,” at the Villa Wesendonck in Zurich. Photos courtesy of  Wavelength Fil

When Gottfried Met Hanoch

‘Dreaming Child’ an engaging yet frustrating look at a Holocaust-themed collaboration.
11/26/2012 - 19:00
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.

11/14/2012 - 19:00
Special to the Jewish Week

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.
11/12/2012 - 19:00
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.
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