New York Jewish Film Fest’s Sweet Farewell

From the cafés of Paris to the Catskills, festival picks ruminate on the role of the Jewish artist in modernity.
01/16/2012 - 19:00
Special to the Jewish Week

It isn’t hard to find a common theme uniting some of the more interesting entries in the final week of the New York Jewish Film Festival this year. From the cafés of Paris to the Catskills, the documentaries on display are ruminations on the role of the Jewish artist in modernity. One could even argue, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, that the excellent Polish thriller “Daas” is about a Jewish artist. A con artist.

Scene from “Welcome to Kutsher’s: The Last Catskills Resort,” the festival’s closing-night film.

‘Extremely Loud’ Screenwriter On Turning The Novel Into A Film

01/11/2012 - 19:00
Staff Writer

The screenwriter Eric Roth isn’t in want of an Oscar. He already has one for “Forrest Gump,” and has been nominated several more times for films like “Munich” and “The Insider.” But Scott Rudin, the producer behind Roth’s latest film, “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” which opened in December in New York and Los Angeles to qualify for the Oscars, and gets a nationwide release on Jan. 20, has made no secret that he intends to win one. 

Eric Roth

A ‘Passion’ To Tell Entebbe Hero’s Tale

‘Follow Me’ recounts the life of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s brother.
01/09/2012 - 19:00
Editor And Publisher

Yonatan Pinchot, 14, of Silver Spring, Md., has a special connection to new documentary film called “Follow Me,” telling the personal story of an authentic, modern-day Israeli hero.

Ari Pinchot, above, was moved by the story of Yonatan Netanyahu, in the circle.

Movies Around The Clock

From wristwatch metaphors in ‘Restoration’ to the cross currents of past and present in ‘Remembrance,’ Jewish film fest meditates on the passage of time.
01/09/2012 - 19:00
Special to the Jewish Week

Jewish thought tends to classify time in highly specific quantities: seven days from Shabbat to Shabbat, 49 days of counting the Omer, generation to generation.

A scene from Joseph Madmony’s “Restoration,” about an antique furniture craftsman whose business is on the verge of bankruptcy.

Identity In The Spotlight

Questions of culture and race in first week of N.Y. Jewish Film Festival.
01/02/2012 - 19:00
Special to the Jewish Week

Identity is who we are, what we are. For Jews, identity is complicated, the product of 4,000 years of history, several thousand years of exile across the entire globe, initiating contact with people and cultures unlike our own. The result of all that intermingling is the savory stew that is Jewish culture, and a principal theme of the first week of this year’s New York Jewish Film Festival.

Scenes from “Mabul,” above, and “400 Miles to Freedom,” two selections in this year’s New York Jewish Film Festival.

Putin’s Prisoner

Documentary spotlights the rise and fall of jailed Russian Jewish oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
11/22/2011 - 19:00
Special to the Jewish Week

Russian history in the past century has consisted of a series of leaps from the frying pan of czarist rule into a relentless series of fires of varying degrees of infernal intensity.

The “return” to power of Vladimir Putin — does anyone really think he was away? — bodes ill for any dream of positive change in the former Soviet Union. It certainly spells continued prison time for Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former head of the Yukos oil company, who has been imprisoned in Siberia for more than seven years on charges of tax evasion.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former head of the Yukos oil company, who has been imprisoned in Siberia.

What Lies Beneath

Two Holocaust films represent radically dissimilar visions of the relationship between Judaism and death.
11/14/2011 - 19:00
Special to the Jewish Week

The objects themselves are insignificant. Seven gold coins, a dirt-encrusted wristwatch, a bracelet. Taken together, they might be worth several hundred dollars but their value really can only be calculated in human suffering and the power of memory.

Ella Prince, a Maidanek survivor, returns to the Polish camp many years after their escape. ©2011 Unfinished Business One, LLC

Behind Heifetz’s Genius

‘God’s Fiddler’ chronicles the violin virtuoso’s life and career.
11/10/2011 - 19:00
Special to the Jewish Week

Genius is pure enigma. It has been called “an infinite capacity for taking pains,” but that quality describes drudgery too. There must be some inexplicable spark, some breath of the Divine that transforms mere technical perfection, simple virtuosity into something transcendent.

Jascha Heifetz

The Melancholy Israel Film Festival

From a thwarted aliyah bid to a failed Arab-Jewish friendship, the tone at the JCC’s ‘Other’ film series is discouraging.
10/31/2011 - 20:00
Special to the Jewish Week

The overriding tone of this year’s edition of the Other Israel Film Festival is one of melancholy, tinged with a degree of exhaustion. It is as if the intractable problems of the Jewish state and its Palestinian neighbors have worn down all the participants, the ossified positions that all sides have taken for so long have become so deeply ingrained that they seemingly will not admit the possibilities of positive change.

The festival’s opening-night film, “Dolphin Boy,” right. Below, the BBC production “The Promise.”

The Love Triangle Of All Love Triangles

Inside the Freud-Jung-Sabine Speilrein relationship.
10/10/2011 - 20:00
Special to the Jewish Week

David Cronenberg has always been fascinated by the relationship between mental state and bodily consequences. So it was perhaps inevitable that he would make a film about Sigmund Freud and the psychoanalytic movement. His very first film, a seven-minute short, “Transfer,” is about the relationship between a psychiatrist and a patient.

 Fassbender and Keira Knightley as Sabine Speilrein.
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