Film

An Israeli Auteur Emerges

The bard of working-class Sephardim, in film and now on the page, Shemi Zarhin is having his moment.

10/16/2013
Special To The Jewish Week
Story Includes Video: 
0

One of the most difficult things a filmmaker can attempt is to create a narrative that shifts tones abruptly but effectively; to veer between comedy and tragedy with such skill that an audience follows along unflaggingly, regardless of where the emotional currents lead.

"The World is Funny" is Zarhin's newest film.

Present At The Creation, And Beyond

Yehuda Avner, top aide to five Israeli leaders, stars in first part of film version of his monumental memoir, ‘The Prime Ministers.’

10/15/2013
Special To The Jewish Week
Story Includes Video: 
0

Yehuda Avner looks like a round-faced version of Fyvush Finkel and, like the actor, he has an avuncular, twinkly charm, sort of like a Yiddish leprechaun. So it comes as no surprise that his on-camera presence throughout “The Prime Ministers: The Pioneers,” a new documentary here on opening on Oct. 18, is one of the film’s greatest assets. Based on Avner’s enormous memoir of his nearly half-century as an aide to Israel’s leaders, the film, the first of two parts, is a frequently candid look at the inner workings of the Israeli government through war and crisis.

The Prime Ministers, Created by Nimrod Erez. Al Gilbert

Dutch Treat, And More

An unusual Jewish take on Dutch imperial sprawl, a new Agnieszka Holland offering and West Bank intrigue at NY Film Festival.

10/04/2013
Special To The Jewish Week
Story Includes Video: 
0

We have reached a point in the history of the moving image that the French film magazine Cahiers du Cinema regularly reviews video games in its pages. I note this with no rancor. It’s merely my way of saying that the presence at the New York Film Festival for a second consecutive year of “Convergence,” a sidebar event focused on trans-media, cross-platform projects, is entirely in keeping with the direction that this art is evolving. Perhaps film was once Janus-faced, looking simultaneously at fiction and documentary (although even that is an oversimplification). Today, you can barely keep track of the facets of this jewel.

Tatiana Pauhofova and Radim Bures in Agnieszka Holland’s Prague Spring-based “Burning Bush.” Photo courtesy HBO

Jews, Money And Mythology

Lewis Cohen’s documentary centers on the Ilan Halimi case but delves into Jews’ place in the global economic system.

10/01/2013
Special To The Jewish Week
Story Includes Video: 
0

In winter 2006, a young Jewish-French man, Ilan Halimi, was kidnapped, held prisoner for 24 days, tortured and brutalized, then murdered and dumped handcuffed and naked near a railroad station outside Paris. He had been seized for ransom, allegedly because, as a Jew, he would have easy access to money. His captors were led by an emigre from the Ivory Coast, a Muslim warlord wannabe named Youssuf Fofana.

A scene from Lewis Cohen’s film “Jews and Money.”

In Search Of Trochenbrod

‘Lost Town’ documents the story of the Ukrainian village wiped out by the Nazis.

09/30/2013
Jewish Week Correspondent
Story Includes Video: 
0

It sounds like a fairy tale.

Once upon a time there was a village in which everyone was Jewish. They were all happy and lived full and rich Jewish lives for over 130 years. Then the Nazis came and erased everything — the town, the farms, the people and their lives. Until a prince came back to look for what was lost.

Trochenbrod has attracted a considerable amount of post-mortem interest.

The Last ‘Elder’ Of Terezin

Claude Lanzmann’s portrait of Rabbi Benjamin Murmelstein is more advocacy than his previous Shoah works.

09/24/2013
Special To The Jewish Week
Story Includes Video: 
0

A few years ago, it was noted in this space that the heroic age of  modernism in film, with its accompanying epic running times, had ended with the 1980s. However, it would appear that two of the world’s greatest documentary filmmakers, Claude Lanzmann and Frederick Wiseman, didn’t get the memo. Their new films, part of this year’s New York Film Festival, which kicks off on Sept. 27, are 218 and 244 minutes long, respectively. While neither Lanzmann’s “The Last of the Unjust” nor Wiseman’s “At Berkeley” are among the directors’ best work, each film has considerable merit, raises deeply troubling issues and rewards the patient and attentive viewer. (See Jewish Week website, thejewishweek.com, for review of Wiseman’s “At Berkeley.”)

Lanzmann, left, and Murmelstein in scene from “The Last of the Unjust.”

These Mean Streets Are In Beirut

Eran Riklis’ ‘Zaytoun’ is an homage to Martin Scorsese.

09/17/2013
Special to the Jewish Week
Story Includes Video: 
0

It would not surprise me if the daily reviews for “Zaytoun,” Eran Riklis’ new film which opens on Sept. 20, chide the Israeli filmmaker for sentimentalizing the film’s central relationship. The movie traces the slowly growing friendship between Yoni (Stephen Dorff), a downed Israeli flyer, and his erstwhile captor Fahed (Abdallah El Akal), a 12-year-old Palestinian refugee who helps him escape captivity during the first Lebanon War. As the pair move from open enmity to tough love and eventually to mutual respect, it would be easy to overlook the intelligent emotional distance with which Riklis treats them, to mistake the film for an easy celebration of the Rodney King-can’t-we-all-get-along school of ineffectual good will.

Abdallah El Akal and Stephen Dorff in “Zaytoun.”

A Filmmaker Grapples With Family And Memory

In ‘First Cousin, Once Removed,’ Alan Berliner documents his personal mentor’s slow slide into Alzheimer’s.

09/17/2013
Special To The Jewish Week
Story Includes Video: 
0

For someone as detail-obsessed, as meticulous as Alan Berliner, this has been a frustrating few weeks. He ushers a guest into his Tribeca loft, apologizing for what seems to him a state of chaos. One side of the immense space is devoted to a nearly floor-to-ceiling collection of boxes, crates, film canisters and what-have-you. The boiler in his building is being replaced and everything he had in storage in the basement is apparently now piled on his floor. As befits a self-confessed perfectionist, Berliner’s stacks of belongings are neater than most people’s ordinary living space. (My office should only look this “messy.”)

The poet Edward Honig in “First Cousin, Once Removed.’ Photo courtesy HBO

Bearing Up After 9/11

Documentary examines the emotional toll the attack took on Cantor Fitzgerald CEO Howard Lutnick.

09/13/2013
Special To The Jewish Week
Story Includes Video: 
0

Howard Lutnick did not lose his life on Sept. 11, 2001 because he took his son to school. The Cantor Fitzgerald CEO raced to the scene of the terrorist attack and, during the collapse, he struggled to breathe, thinking he might die.

Howard Lutnick being interviewed on ABC.

‘Afternoon Delight’ For Days Of Awe

Jewish screenwriter Jill Soloway grapples successfully with transgression, forgiveness and feminism.

08/27/2013
Special To The Jewish Week
Story Includes Video: 
0

It wasn’t planned that way, but “Afternoon Delight,” the first feature film directed and written by author and television veteran Jill Soloway, is opening at a perfect time in the Jewish year. A mordantly funny and deeply felt film about transgression and forgiveness, it is just the thing for the end of Elul and the coming of the Days of Awe.

Jill Soloway
Syndicate content