New Names, New Genres

Second week of Israel Film Festival features slasher, nature and singles scene fare.
05/02/2011 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

One of the pleasant side benefits of this year’s Israel Film Festival, now in its 25th year, is a profusion of unfamiliar names and even unfamiliar genres


Scene from “Land of Genesis,” top, and Keren Berger and Yaron Brovinsky in “2Night.”

Three ‘Novel’ Israeli Works

Film about Amos Oz and two based on the fiction of David Grossman and Yehoshua Kenaz are part of Israel Film Festival.
04/26/2011 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Israeli artists are as introspective as any in the world. I doubt if any filmmakers, writers, painters, musicians or composers anywhere spend as much time pondering the nature of their national identity at both the micro and macro levels.

Amos Oz

Love Across The Great Divide

An Israeli woman, a Palestinian man and separation anxiety.
04/26/2011 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Under ideal circumstances, marriage is hard work. Under extreme pressure, it sometimes seems impossible. Jasmin Avissar and Osama “Assi” Zatar, the young couple at the heart of Gabriella Bier’s documentary “Love During Wartime,” are under extreme pressure. She is an Israeli and he is a Palestinian. As the film, which is playing in the Tribeca Film Festival, makes abundantly clear, the pressure comes from all sides, including some unexpected ones.

Pressure cooker: Jasmin Avissar and Assi Zatar

Tribeca’s Israeli Offerings: Slash And Yearn

‘Rabies’ and ‘Bombay Beach’ take very different cinematic paths.
04/17/2011 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

It would be hard to imagine two more dissimilar films from Israeli directors than the pair that are playing in the opening week of the Tribeca Film Festival, which runs through May 1. “Rabies” by Navot Papushado and Aharon Keshales, claims to be Israel’s first slasher film. Alma Har’el’s “Bombay Beach” is a documentary with some staged dance sequences, set in one of the most desolate communities in North America. Each could be read as a comment on the current condition of the Jewish state and its inhabitants or just enjoyed for its own virtues.

"Bombay Beach" director Alma Ha'rel

Julian Schnabel On ‘Miral’ And The Conflict

04/06/2011 - 20:00
Staff Writer

For Julian Schnabel, the storm that followed the release of his new film, “Miral,” about a Palestinian woman who joins the first intifada, has not quite passed.

A week before the film debuted in late March, prominent Jewish groups criticized Schnabel, whose film was screened at the United Nations main hall. The American Jewish Committee, for instance, said that the film has “a clear political message, which portrays Israel in a highly negative light.”

Julian Schnabel with Freida Pinto during the making of "Miral."

The Aftermath Of Adolescence

Two ‘New Directors/New Films’ works, one French, the other Palestinian, focus on young adults.
03/23/2011 - 20:00
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.
03/21/2011 - 20:00
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.
03/14/2011 - 20:00
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.
03/08/2011 - 19:00
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.
03/07/2011 - 19:00
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
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