Film

The Aftermath Of Adolescence

Two ‘New Directors/New Films’ works, one French, the other Palestinian, focus on young adults.

03/24/2011
Special To The Jewish Week

No amount of thoughtful planning can trump the serendipity of chance. Consider this juxtaposition: Last week, two Jewish-related films opened in New York that dealt with children under pressure. This week, the 40th annual New Directors/New Films event opens and among the films programmed are two Jewish-related films about young adults dealing with the aftermath of adolescence.

Prudence (Lea Seydoux), a troubled teen in "Belle Èpine," part of the New Directors/New Film series.

Schnabel’s ‘Miral’ Falls Flat

Ponderousness, more than anti-Israel bias, is problem with the film based on Palestinian novel.

03/22/2011
Special To The Jewish Week

Let’s get the controversy out of the way immediately: Anyone who finds Julian Schnabel’s new film “Miral” to be any more pro-Palestinian or anti-Israeli than dozens of other recent films about Israel’s policies in the West Bank hasn’t been getting out much.

Frieda Pinto as Miral. She is wearing the school uniform of the Dar Al-Tifel Institute.

No Place For Children

‘Winter in Wartime’ and ‘The Gift to Stalin’ put kids in some unforgiving spots.

03/15/2011
Special To The Jewish Week

In the 1960s there was a popular poster and bumper sticker that proclaimed, “War Is Not Healthy for Children and Other Living Things.” Political repression isn’t good for them either. Those are the messages carried by two new films opening on March 18, “The Gift to Stalin,” from Kazakhstan, and “Winter in Wartime,” from the Netherlands.

A Jewish boy (Dalen Schintemirov) is adopted caretaker in Rustem Abdrashev’s “The Gift to Stalin.”

Art Hidden In Plain Sight

‘Desert of Forbidden Art’ tells the compelling story of art scavenger/savior Igor Savitsky.

03/09/2011
Special To The Jewish Week

It wasn’t safe to be a Jew or an Uzbeki or a Karakalpak or an artist of any ethnicity under Joseph Stalin. You could go from being a great, grand and glorious Hero of the Revolution to being a fascist stooge in the time it took the Leader to smoke his pipe. If Stalin and his toadies were willing to make an artist disappear, then how much less thought would they giving to destroying art?

The poster for "Desert of Forbidden Art," with photo of Igor Savitsky.

In Praise Of Ronit Elkabetz

The great Israeli actress is a featured guest at this year’s Sephardic Film Festival.

03/08/2011
Special To The Jewish Week

Let us sing the praises of Ronit Elkabetz.

The actress, writer and director is one of the featured guests at this year’s Sephardic Jewish Film Festival, which opens on March 10, and her presence onscreen gives considerable life to several of the films in this year’s event.

Ronit Elkabetz

Guess Who’s Coming To (Shabbos) Dinner?

03/01/2011

The question of whether people can escape their fate is at the center of Chana Porter’s new play, “Besharet” (the Yiddish word for destiny). In the play, the inaugural production of AliveWire Theatrics, an encounter with the supernatural upends the lives of a Jewish attorney and his wife, causing deeply submerged memories and feelings to erupt. “Besharet” opens this weekend at P.S. 122 in the East Village.

Olivia Rorick, MacLeod Andrews and William Green in scene from “Besharet.”

Eran Riklis’ New Role Player

In Eran Riklis’ ‘Human Resources Manager,’ the bakery-employee protagonist struggles to transcend a mere job.

03/01/2011
Special To The Jewish Week

At the heart of Eran Riklis’ last three films — “The Syrian Bride” (2004), “Lemon Tree” (2008) and “The Human Rights Manager” (2010), which opens here on March 4 — are protagonists who have been so crushed by daily routine and pressure that they can only be brought back to real life by being shaken and stirred by circumstance.

Mark Ivanir as the human resources manager in Eran Riklis’ “The Human Resources Manager.”

Claude Lanzmann, Briefly

Rare screening of three of the ‘Shoah’ director’s more recent short films at Film Comment Select series.

02/22/2011
Special To The Jewish Week

In the death camp at Treblinka there was a fake railroad station that included a clock on which the painted hands always read 6 o’clock. The entire construction was a grotesque joke perpetrated by the camp’s commandant Fritz Stangl; in Treblinka, time stood still because all those brought there were dead from the moment they entered.

A scene from Lanzmann's "Sobibor."

Foreigners But Not Strangers

Film about unique south Tel Aviv school garners Oscar nomination.

02/09/2011
Special To The Jewish Week

To read the Israeli papers is to see a steady stream of stories bemoaning the country's public education system, especially those citing Israeli students' low test scores in science and math.

But American filmmakers Kirk Simon and Karen Goodman found a unique south Tel Aviv school that is doing all the right things with a dizzyingly diverse student body. Their documentary about the Bialik-Rogozin school, "Strangers No More," was just nominated for an Oscar in the documentary short category.

The Bialik-Rogozin school in S. Tel Aviv teaches a dizzyingly diverse group of youngsters, many the children of foreign workers

For Jewish-Kashmiri Filmmaker, ‘Identity Is Never Fixed’

Tariq Tapa’s debut film is in part a mirror of his complicated life.

02/08/2011
Special To The Jewish Week

Tariq Tapa had a complicated childhood. Not unpleasant, mind you, just unusually busy.

Bridging identities: Mohamad Imran Tapa in Tariq Tapa’s “Zero Bridge.” (The actor is a distant cousin of the filmmaker’s).
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