‘Noah’ Co-Writer Stands Up For His Story speaks

Neuroscientist Ari Handel switched fields to write with former suitemate Darren Aronofsky.

03/31/2014 - 20:00
Jewish Week Correspondent

Ari Handel on set. Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Downward Mobility In Israel

In Tom Shoval’s ‘Youth,’ the strains of the middle class are on full view.

03/18/2014 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

There is a new generation of Israeli filmmakers out there, and its practitioners are taking the Israeli cinema in some fascinating new directions. Whether it’s the insider’s view of the haredi world given by Rama Burshtein in “Fill the Void,” the deeply disturbed teens in Jonathon Gurfinkel’s “S#x Acts” or the calculated ultra-violence of Aharon Keshales and Navot Pupashado in “Rabies” and “Big Bad Wolves,” these filmmakers are taking a subversive look at elements of Israeli society through the lens of the genre film. You can add another name to that list: Tom Shoval, whose first feature film, “Youth,” is on display in this year’s edition of New Directors/New Films, which runs from March 19-30.

David and Eitan Cunio as the brothers Yaki and Shaul in "Youth." Courtesy of United King Films

Feminist Seder Pioneer Esther Bronner Is Subject Of New Documentary

03/17/2014 - 20:00
Culture Editor

At the feminist seders led by novelist E.M. Broner, the women would go around and introduce themselves matrilineally, naming as many ancestors as they knew. Broner wanted to be sure that they remembered the generations of women who spent the seder in the kitchen, preparing and serving, leaving the telling of the Passover story to the men.

Esther Broner, second from left, pioneered the first feminist seder in 1976. Joan Roth

Catalan Film Puts New Spin On Spanish Anti-Semitism

‘The Stigma?’ leads the 17th annual Sephardic Film Festival.

03/10/2014 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

At this stage of Jewish history, one might think that the last thing needed is a documentary that traces the ideological roots of ant-Semitism. We should know all this stuff by now, right? But “The Stigma?,” the new Catalan film that has its U.S. premiere as part of the 17th New York Sephardic Jewish Film Festival, which begins this week, puts that history in a subtly different context that makes all the difference.

Right, the poster for Martí Sans’ “The Stigma?” Below,  “The Rabbi’s Cat.” Courtesy of Sephardic Film Festival

Disabilities Film Festival Making Big Strides

Sixth installment brings subject of deafness to the fore.

03/03/2014 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Six years ago, when he was putting together the inaugural ReelAbilities: NY Disabilities Film Festival, Isaac Zablocki sensed he was on to something.

Tova, a matchmaker stricken with muscular dystrophy, is the central character in “Do You Believe in Love?”

‘She’ll Help You Live A Happier Life’

Doc featuring Alice Herz-Sommer, world’s oldest Holocaust survivor, wins Oscar just days after her death.

03/03/2014 - 19:00

Los Angeles — In her 110 years, Alice Herz-Sommer was an accomplished concert pianist and teacher, a wife and mother — and a prisoner in Theresienstadt.

Alice Herz-Sommer, the subject of an Oscar-winning documentary. “Music is God,” she would say.  JTA

The Battle Of Stalingrad, In 3-D

Fedor Bondarchuk’s ‘Stalingrad’ tries to balance the epic with the intimate.

02/24/2014 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Vasily Grossman’s monumental novel “Life and Fate” is surely one that, like its inspiration “War and Peace,” defies easy adaptation to the movie screen. Frederick Wiseman’s “The Last Letter” took a masterful minimalist approach, using a single chapter from the 900-page volume and turning it into a monodrama showcasing Catherine Samie as a Jewish doctor recounting the coming of the Nazi murder machine to her hometown. The BBC turned “Life and Fate” into an eight-hour radio drama anchored by Kenneth Branagh and David Tennant. And Russian television tackled it in 2012 in a nine-hour miniseries.

Fedor Bondarchuk, left, filming “Stalingrad.” Wikimedia Commons

Lanzmann Loses His Distance

‘Shoah’ director’s latest, ‘Last of the Unjust,’ is an ethical lapse, says a longtime champion of his work.

02/17/2014 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

To understand how difficult it is to write this column, you have to consider my history with Claude Lanzmann. Of course, I have seen every one of his films. I have watched “Shoah” — nearly 10 hours long — five times. I have interviewed Lanzmann face to face on four separate occasions. That may not sound like a lot but it’s the longest episodic “relationship” I’ve had with a foreign filmmaker. And I have written about his work enthusiastically more times than I can count, at least a dozen times in 20 years for Jewish Week and that many again elsewhere.

Lanzmann at train station outside of Terezin. Courtesy of Synecdoche/Le Pacte

Still Up And At It: One Of The Original 'Monuments Men'

In wake of new movie, Harry Ettlinger, 88, joins with his successors in intensified push to recover stolen art.

02/10/2014 - 19:00
Staff Writer

Harry Ettlinger, the only survivor of the original handful of Monuments Men assigned by the U.S. army in 1943 to hunt for Nazi-looted artwork and help return it to its owners, is once again helping families reunite with their prized art collections.

Henry Ettlinger, left, one of the Monument Men, with attorney Mel Urbach. Courtesy of Mel Urbach

‘Monuments Men’ Reignites Debate

Star-studded film steers clear of furor surrounding formation of art-focused team in ’43; Roosevelt’s priorities at time questioned by Jewish groups.

02/04/2014 - 19:00
Staff Writer

The George Clooney movie that premieres Friday, “The Monuments Men,” tells the story of the 350-member team of professors, art historians and museum curators who scoured Europe for the millions of dollars worth of art looted by the Nazis. But there is a backstory worth talking about — the furor over the creation of the team in June 1943 touched off from those concerned about the fate of European Jews.

Paintings or people?  Image via
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