The Kibbutz At 100

Documentary looks at ups and downs of Israel’s noble experiment in collective living; ‘Dolphin Boy’ considers a very different kind of experiment.

Special to the Jewish Week

For many Jews in the diaspora, the ideal of the kibbutz has always spoken loudly about what the State of Israel was supposed to be. Some of the avatars of modern Zionism would have agreed. After all, they were among the pioneers who created the first kibbutz, just over a century ago, at Degania.

“Inventing Our Life,” top, looks at the changes in Israel’s first kibbutz.

Eytan Fox’s Yossi, 10 Years On

The sequel to ‘Yossi and Jagger’ at Tribeca fest, marks the subtle changes in the former IDF commander.

Special to the Jewish Week

It has been 10 years since Jagger died, and Yossi (Ohad Knoller), his erstwhile commander and lover, hasn’t recovered yet. Now a cardiologist working in Tel Aviv, Yossi is still closeted, living in an emotional straitjacket woven of loneliness, mourning and the fear of being devastated by more tragedy. If only something would change...

Ohad Knoller plays a closeted, conflicted cardiologist in “Yossi.”

Not James Bond’s Goldfinger

A German-Jewish-Israeli family’s surprising past and a Joseph Papp biography headline Tribeca festival.

Special to the Jewish Week

The birth and rapid growth of the Tribeca Film Festival, which began its 11th annual run this week, coincides with the artistic explosion of the Israeli film industry, and the two institutions have enjoyed a close and mutually supportive relationship for a decade. This year’s festival showcases several new Israeli films and filmmakers, as well as “Yossi,” Eytan Fox’s long-awaited sequel to “Yossi and Jagger.”

Arnon Goldfinger, director of “The Flat.”

'Hana's Suitcase' A Well-Traveled Tale

Film Critic

It’s an unprepossessing object, a battered, rather ordinary valise, with a name, date of birth and the German word “Waisenkind” (orphan) painted in broad strokes on its side. But the most neutral  objects acquire meaning through association with people and events, and this particular suitcase carries a lot of history along with its meager contents.

George and Hana Brady in 1938.

In Search Of Simone Weil

A new documentary tries, but fails, to gain a deeper understanding of this perplexing and prolific philosopher.

Special to the Jewish Week

The life and thought of Simone Weil present numerous paradoxes and pitfalls for a documentarian brave enough to take her on. She was a secular Jew who was taken with Catholic thought, a pacifist who bore arms in the Spanish Civil War, a member of the Resistance whose final act of defiance was to starve herself, enabling tuberculosis to triumph over her body. It’s a tangled story made more so by the passage of time, which has swept away almost everyone who knew her.

Simone Weil

From A Rabbi’s Talking Cat To The Contested West Bank

Jewish-themed offerings at this year’s New Directors/New Films series.

Special to the Jewish Week

The annual New Directors/New Films program, now in its 41st year, brings together a program of more than two dozen films from all over the globe, and the only common ground between them is work by fairly new directors who show promise. The programming results in some wild juxtapositions. This year’s event, which opened this week, is typical.

Scenes from the animated “The Rabbi’s Cat,” Guy DVD Films & Burnat Films Palestine

Echoes Of ‘Casablanca’

‘Free Men’ harkens back to a time when Jews and Muslims fought a common Fascist enemy.

Special to the Jewish Week

Although the film “Free Men” was made in France last year and opens here on Friday, March 16, it feels a lot older. In some ways, that’s not a bad thing. Director Ismail Ferroukhi turned to the straightforward, linear narrative style of the place and period in which the film is set, Paris under the Nazi occupation, and to a subdued palette that gently suggests the black-and-white films of the era.

Tahar Rahim as a young Algerian émigré in Nazi-occupied Paris, in “Free Men.”

The New Ronit Elkabetz

Two star turns for Reymond Amsalem at this year’s Sephardic Film Festival.

Special to the Jewish Week

Last year’s edition of the New York Sephardic Jewish Film Festival was an informal tribute to Ronit Elkabetz. This year’s event, the 16th annual festival, crowns her successor, Reymond Amsalem.

Reymond Amsalem in “My Lovely Sister,” above, and “Obsession.”

‘Belonging To The Land’

Documentarian Gideon Koppel explores the Welsh-Jewish connection.

Special to the Jewish Week

Gideon Koppel bristles a little when you call his lyrical debut feature film ‘sleep furiously’ a documentary.

“For me the film is a fictional construct,” he says. “I’m at loggerheads with the way in which many academics and critics use the word ‘documentary.’ For me [the documentary] has always been linked to the world of the lyrical, the poetic and the avant-garde.”

One of the amazing landscapes of the Welsh countryside from “sleep furiously.”  Courtesy of Gideon Koppel

Words As Weapons

The complex ‘Footnote,’ about Torah scholars, takes Joseph Cedar to another kind of battlefield: that of academic infighting and father-son resentment.

Special to Jewish Week

Judaism is unique among the Abrahamic faith traditions in giving pride of place to the study of sacred texts, even within the liturgy. The traditional morning service includes both the blessing for study of Torah and passages from the Talmud relating to the sacrifices offered in the Temple a couple of millennia ago.

Lior Ashkenazi as Uriel Shkolnik and Shlomo Bar Aba as Eliezer Shkolnik, the father-son Torah scholars in “Footnote.” Ren Mendel
Syndicate content