Film

A Holocaust Documentary With A Difference

Intelligently structured, ‘Street Of Our Lady’ is a tribute to a Polish mother and daughter who saved 15 Jews

06/30/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

When the Second World War broke out, the town of Sokal, then in Poland, had a population that included 6,000 Jews. By 1944, only 30 were still alive. Fifteen of them were being hidden in an attic and a hayloft over a pigsty by Francisca Halamajowa and her daughter Helena.

Chaim Maltz reflects at the Sokal train station

The Jews Of ‘Restrepo’

06/30/2010

 His parents gave Misha Pemble-Belkin a pacifist, “hippie” upbringing, forbidding him and his two brothers from playing with toy guns or watching violent films.

But both of them, including his Jewish father, were “very proud” that he enlisted in the Army, says their son, now a sergeant at Fort Polk, La., and one of 11 soldiers interviewed in “Restrepo,” a new documentary about one company’s grueling tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Sgt. Misha Pemble-Belkin, left, is one of 11 soldiers featured in the new film “Restrepo,” about U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Israel’s Black Panthers Remembered

BAM film documents Mizrahi civil rights movement of the ‘70s, though inequities still resonate for Jews from Arab countries.

06/29/2010
Staff Writer

Shortly after Israel’s victory in the War of Independence, the Jewish state took in a mass exodus of Jews from Arab lands, first in 1949, and then again in 1956. 

Jews from Arab lands, called Mizrahim, came to Israel not because they were ardent Zionists, but because their host Arab countries, angered by the establishment of the State of Israel, had turned against them. 

A scene from “The Black Panthers (In Israel) Speak” shows a Mizrahi protest from the early ‘70s.

Feeling Phil Spector’s Pain

New documentary sheds light on the ultimate outsider.

06/22/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

Among the myriad ways in which Jews became Americans in the 20th century, one of the most felicitous was their involvement in the creation of popular music. The overwhelming presence of Jewish-Americans in the pages of the Great American Songbook is proverbial. Even a gilt-edged WASP like Cole Porter prided himself on “writing Jewish.”

Spector, currently serving a 19-year prison sentence for murder, is the focus of a new documentary by Vikram Jayanti, “The Agony

‘I Never Felt In My Place’

In ‘Let It Rain,’ filmmaker/actress Agnes Jaoui, the French-born daughter of Tunisian Jewish
immigrants, explores damaged people.

06/15/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

Agnes Jaoui knows what it feels like not to fit in.

“My parents were Jews from Tunisia,” she says, sitting on the edge of the bed in a Soho hotel suite. “I was born in a suburb of Paris, but when I was 7 we moved to Paris itself. We lived in a poor and ugly block, but in a very chic arondissement [neighborhood]. So I went to very, very good schools, but it was purely by chance, because we were in this arondissement. I never felt in my place, nowhere.”

Agnes Jaoui as Agathe Villanova and Jean-Pierre Bacri in Jaoui’s “Let it Rain.”

Israel’s ‘Minority In A Minority’

Dor Guez’s video triptych examines the complicated identities of his Arab Christian family members.

06/01/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

If you don’t think that human identity is evanescent, multilayered, poly-vocal and downright confused, you probably won’t get “The Monayer Family,” a triptych of short videos by Dor Guez currently on display at the Jewish Museum.

Guez is a provocative, gifted artist who works in a variety of disciplines and media, focusing his attention on issues of multiculturalism, ethnicity and personal identity; appropriately, his own identity is as contested and complex as it is possible to imagine. The work, unsurprisingly, is the same.

The filmmaker’s grandfather, Jacob, in scenes from “The Monayer Family.”

Woody Allen’s Grandson, Jerry Seinfeld’s Son

Josh and Benny Safdie’s ‘Daddy Longlegs’ offers a darkly humorous update
on the neurotic Manhattan Jew.

05/11/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

Lenny Sokol’s life is a barely controlled chaos. He has custody of his two sons for two weeks, his work life is insane, he’s juggling girlfriends and, well, Lenny (Ronald Bronstein) is a chaotic kind of a guy. He’s the reduction ad absurdum of the prototypical nebbish hero, version 3.0, the grandson of Woody Allen, the son of Jerry Seinfeld, a charming narcissist writ large.

The parent trap: Ronald Bronstein as the nebbishy hero Lenny Sokol, who has custody of his two sons.

Love And Theft

Donald Margulies’
‘Collected Stories’ gets a revival.

05/11/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

Every piece of writing is, according to the literary critic Harold Bloom, a mixture of homage and betrayal, an attempt by the writer to be freed from the long shadow of the writers of the past. What Bloom famously dubbed the “anxiety of influence” is one of the most salient themes of Donald Margulies’ “Collected Stories,” now receiving a solid revival at the Manhattan Theatre Club starring Linda Lavin and Sarah Paulson.

Linda Lavin,  left, and Sarah Paulson as mentor and student in “Collected Stories.”

East Germany, In The Rear-View Mirror

Amie Siegel’s ‘visual essay’ looks back at ‘a country long over.’

05/04/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

About 90 minutes into Amie Siegel’s clever, witty rumination on the former East Germany, “DDR/DDR,” Siegel and her crew get into a spirited discussion about the best way to translate the German word “Wende,” literally “change,” since it used to refer to the series of upheavals that began with the fall of the Berlin Wall and ended after the reunification of Germany.

Documentary-maker Amie Siegel appears often on camera in “DDR/DDR,” her study of the former East Germany.

Blame It On Rio

Not even a beautiful Mossad agent can
save the Bondian romp, ‘Lost in Rio.’

05/04/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

Life was so much simpler in 1967. For a brief moment, everyone loved Israel, the plucky little country that fended off attacks from all its much larger, more powerful neighbors. With the U.S. involved in an unpopular war in Vietnam, it was comfortable for progressives to view the Israelis as a model for the Third World, a nation too tough to take crap from the big boys.

No 007: Jean Dujardin and Louise Monot in scene from “OSS 117 — Lost in Rio.”
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