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.

‘A Happy Childhood In A Sea Of Blood’

‘Hitler’s Children’ looks at the Holocaust from a much-needed and very different perspective.
11/12/2012 - 19:00
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.
11/05/2012 - 19:00
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.
10/22/2012 - 20:00
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

10/22/2012 - 20:00

“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
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