On The Oscars, Talmud Scholars And Risky Filmmaking

An interview with ‘Footnote’ director Joseph Cedar.
03/04/2012 - 19:00
Staff Writer

“Footnote,” the latest film from Joseph Cedar, an American-born Israeli director, will be released in U.S. theaters on Friday, March 9. But already the film has received enormous attention. It was a finalist for Best Foreign Language Film at this year’s Oscars. (It lost to Iran’s “A Separation.”) But it has already won a big prize at Cannes and Best Picture at the Ophir Awards, Israel’s Oscar-equivalent. “Footnote” tells the story of two feuding Talmud scholars, a father and son, at Hebrew University. The younger one is more successful. Cedar, 43, spoke about the film this week from Los Angeles, where he was attending the Academy Awards.

‘Footnote’ director Joseph Cedar

Notes From The Underground

A steely moral complexity marks the work of Agnieszka Holland, whose new ‘In Darkness’ is set in the sewers of Nazi-era Lvov.
02/06/2012 - 19:00
Special to the Jewish Week

When you ask Agnieszka Holland about the historical tensions between Jews and Catholics in her native Poland, she doesn’t have far to look for a reply.

“I don’t believe in stories that are sentimental,” says Holland, top. Above, scene from “In Darkness.” Sony Classics

‘We Favor Films About The People, Not The Disability’

‘ReelAbilities’ festival shines a spotlight on tough-minded movies about those facing real challenges.
01/30/2012 - 19:00
Special to the Jewish Week

What is the largest minority group in the United States? Hint: it is the only minority group to which anyone may belong, a group that many of us will join with the passage of time, but a group that is woefully underrepresented in many elements of American life, including the arts.

A scene from the Chinese-made “Ocean Heaven,” part of the ReelAbilities: NY Disabilities Film Festival.

Israel’s “Footnote” Gets Oscar Nod

01/23/2012 - 19:00

(JTA) -- “Footnote,” Israel’s Oscar entry for best foreign-language film, was nominated for an Academy Award.

The nominations were released Tuesday by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

“Footnote,” directed and written by Joseph Cedar, centers on the rivalry between a father and son, both famous Talmudic scholars in Jerusalem.

At Sundance, View Of Israel Ranges From Critical To Abysmal

01/23/2012 - 19:00

PARK CITY, Utah (JTA) – For Israel fans, it's all pain and anguish this year at the Sundance Film Festival.

Unlike in years past at America’s top independent film fest, when feature films exploring the nuances of Israeli life offset some hard-hitting documentaries – such as in 2007 when the award-winning “Sweet Mud” contrasted with “Hothouse” – 2012 has no such leavening agents. At the venues in this mountainous ski town showing the films this week, the views of Israel range from critical to abysmal.

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.
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