‘From The Depths Of Despair To The Heights Of Hope’

The story of Col. Ilan Ramon and the Torah scroll aboard Space Shuttle Columbia.
01/21/2013 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

The Torah scroll was very small, maybe the size of a grown man’s hand. It had been read in a place unimaginable in a sacred text, inside the very precincts of hell, as part of a bar mitzvah ceremony in the unlikeliest and worst place on earth, Bergen-Belsen. Now it was being carried on a journey almost as incomprehensible.

Col. Ramon is at the center of PBS’ “Space Shuttle Columbia: Mission of Hope.”

‘New World Out There’ For Gays, Israel

Eytan Fox’s sequel to ‘Yossi and Jagger,’ a decade in the making.
01/21/2013 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Ten years ago, when his film “Yossi and Jagger” was released to wide acclaim, Eytan Fox had no thought of a sequel.

Ohad Knoller as Yossi in his post-IDF days.

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.
01/14/2013 - 19:00
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.”

Two Takes On Mixed-Mood Comedies

‘Let My People Go!’ and ‘My Best Enemy.’
01/10/2013 - 19:00
Special to the Jewish Week

It could be argued that comedy is the most utterly subjective of film genres. A half-bright filmmaker can make an audience cry without much effort.

Ruben (Nicolas Maury), the pride of the Finnish postal service, in "Let My People Go!"

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.’
01/07/2013 - 19:00
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,” .

Svigals, Lerner Team Up On Score For Silent Film

Mix of klezmer and modernism as accompaniment to ‘The Yellow Ticket.’
01/01/2013 - 19:00
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

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.

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