‘Delirious Realism’ On Screen

Latinbeat festival highlights Jewish role in New Argentine Cinema.

Special to the Jewish Week

This year’s Latinbeat Film Festival is a vivid reminder that Jewish filmmakers have been at the heart of the New Argentine Cinema for all of its roughly two decades of existence. Among the five new Argentine films playing the event, which opens on Aug. 10, are “Querida Voy a Comprar Cigarillos y Vuelvo,” directed by Mariano Cohn and Gaston Duprat, and “No Return,” directed by Miguel Cohan. You can add their names to a roster of festival veterans that already includes Martin Rejtman, Daniel Burman and Diego Lerman, among others.

The 12th annual Latinbeat Film Festival

Remembering Hitler, The Person

From the Fuhrer’s secretary to an uprising survivor, ‘Talking Head’ series features a range of voices from the Shoah.

Special to the Jewish Week

The film critic and historian Andrew Sarris is fond of saying that sometimes the most cinematic choice in the world is just to show two people in a room talking. When it comes to nonfiction film, despite the derisive phrase “talking heads documentary,” if the subject is interesting enough and the people talking are compelling, Sarris is absolutely right.

Face of a hero: Yehuda Lerner bears witness in Claude Lanzmann’s film about the uprising at Sobibor. New Yorker Films

One Complex Family, One Complex Country

Tomer Heymann looks closely at his own family in ‘The Queen Has No Crown,’ and captures a changing Israeli society too.

Staff Writer

Early in Tomer Heymann’s new documentary, “The Queen Has No Crown,” the director’s twin brother, Erez, stares directly into the camera and says in a low, cold voice: “You’re extinction, that’s what you are. … Biologically, you’re useless.”

The director Tomer Heymann.

A Down Syndrome Jewish Actor’s Breakout Role

In ‘Girlfriend,’ a film directed by high school buddy Justin Lerner, Evan Sneider plays a character much like himself.

Staff Writer

Three years ago, when Justin Lerner decided to give his friend, Evan Sneider, an actor with Down syndrome, a small role in his master’s thesis film, he did not know Sneider would eventually become critical to the launch of his own career.

In the new indie film "Girlfriend," Evan Sneider, below right, plays an actor loosely based on himself.

Out Of Europe

Two new documentaries — one on a Ukrainian writer, the other on a German artist — paint a vivid canvas of World War II and its aftermath.

Special To The Jewish Week

The outsider’s perspective is generally a fresh one, especially if the outsider in question is a great artist. That certainly is the case with two excellent new documentaries that will have their U.S. theatrical premieres at Film Forum in the coming weeks. The translator Svetlana Geier and the painter Anselm Kiefer have unique, unusual viewpoints on the bloody 20th century, and in “The Woman With Five Elephants” and “Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow” those viewpoints are given particularly cogent visual expression.

Svetlana Geier, above, the subject of "The Woman With the 5 Elephants," and Anselm Kiefer,"Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow,"

Oy Romeo, Romeo!

Yiddish comedy-drama casts alienated chasidic youth as the ill-fated Shakespearean lovers.

Special To The Jewish Week

In its own daffy way, “Romeo and Juliet in Yiddish” is as much a documentary as it is a comedy-drama. The film’s cast consists of alienated chasidic youth re-enacting their own pasts as runaways, scam artists and street kids. The film’s writer-director, Eve Annenberg, plays a nurse, which is what she is in her day job, who becomes involved in the lives of these kids when, as part of her graduate work outside the medical world, she is commissioned to create a modernized Yiddish-language version of the venerable Shakespeare romantic tragedy.

Lazar Weiss and Melissa "Malky" Weisz in "Romeo and Juliet in Yiddish."

Sholem Aleichem And Modern Jewish Identity

‘Arguing the World’ director Joseph Dorman turns his lens on the great Yiddish writer.

Special To The Jewish Week

Joseph Dorman has a confession to make.

“I love compulsive talkers,” he says, laughing. “I’m very interested in talk.”

Seeking Justice For Deborah

Jewish filmmaker and Jewish lawyer take on the case of an abused woman unfairly imprisoned in California.

Special To The Jewish Week

We pray the words every day, but they probably don’t register: “matir asurim,” who frees the captive. Perhaps they are too familiar, our recitation too rote. But the commandment, like the instruction to seek justice, is one of the essentials of Jewish thought and life.

Joshua Safran, left and Nadia Costa, right, meet with Peagler to take up her cause.

A French Jewish-Muslim Romance

Satisfying and poignant, ‘The Names of Love’ rises above the constraints of its genre.

Special To The Jewish Week

The original French title of the new comedy “The Names of Love,” which opens on June 24, was “Le Nom des Gens.” That loosely translates as “the name of people” and, for a film that is very much about the nature of identity and self-definition, it is a more apt title. On the other hand, since the film is a sweet-natured romantic comedy, maybe things are best left as they are.

Director Michel Leclerc, top right, showcases the love story of Baya and Arthur.

A ‘Righteous’ Lens: Genocides Then And Now

Staff Writer

During his senior year at the University of Pennsylvania, Samuel Goldberg, an Upper West Side native, day school graduate and English/filmmaking major in college, was weighing a career in philanthropy or entertainment.

Then he saw “The Last Survivor.”

Samuel Goldberg, second from right, with the Righteous Pictures team.
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