The Rabbi Was A ‘Freedom Rider’

N.J. spiritual leader, part of a new PBS documentary, looks back on his role in the civil rights struggle.
05/10/2011 - 20:00
Staff Writer

When Rabbi Israel S. Dresner got a call 50 years ago asking if he’d be willing to go on a Freedom Ride aimed at desegregating bus stations in the South, he did not hesitate.

“Remember, I’m a guy who grew up in the 1930s when Hitler was on the rise,” Rabbi Dresner, now 82, said in a recent interview from his home in Wayne, N.J. “How can I not be against racism?”

Rabbi Israel S. Dresner

Life-Saving Amid Bloodshed

Award-winning film about a Gaza boy and his Israeli doctor wins fans from all sides of the conflict.
05/09/2011 - 20:00
Staff Writer

In 2008, Shlomi Eldar, a prominent Israeli television journalist, was asked to do a segment on a baby Palestinian boy suffering from a lethal blood disease, and an Israeli doctor’s attempt to save him. But Eldar was reluctant.

Raida, right, with her 4-month-old son Mohammad, middle, in a scene from “Precious Life,” which airs on HBO this month.

Italians, Jews And Death

Marc Meyers’ ‘Harvest’ focuses on a tension-riddled Italian-Jewish family.
05/02/2011 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

It takes a filmmaker with a significant amount of chutzpah to base his second feature film on an old chestnut like a family gathering as its patriarch nears death. Marc Meyers not only takes that risk in his second feature film, “Harvest,” which opens on May 6; he also eschews the emotional pyrotechnics that the subject usually encourages to create something more thoughtful, intelligent and, frequently, elegant.

The Monopoli clan, headed by patriarch Siv (Robert Loggia), center, and matriarch Yetta (Barbara Barrie), left.

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.
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