The Arts

A Grunt’s-Eye-View Of Modern Combat

Samuel Fuller’s WWII epic ‘The Big Red One’ raises big moral questions.

09/25/2012
Special To The Jewish Week

Lee Marvin in “The Big Red One.” Warner Brothers

‘Sweet’ Spots At Other Israel Festival

A documentary about Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish and a dark comedy about the candy business on tap.

10/28/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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Contemplating the eighth edition of the Other Israel Film Festival, which opens Nov. 6, it occurs to me that the event, which underwent a subtle shift in focus a few years ago, has become a richer, more interesting program as a result. While the festival originally sought to showcase films by or about the segments of the Israeli population that were neither Jews nor Palestinians (and hence shunted to the margins of our perception of the country), it now presents the reality of “otherness” in Israeli society.

Scenes from the offbeat dark comedy “Sweets,” about an Arab Christian candy entrepreneur. Courtesy of Other Israel Film Festival

Double Vision On Israel

Zvi Sahar’s ‘Salt of the Earth’ features puppetry set against shifting pillars of salt.

10/28/2014
Culture Editor
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The puppet at the center of Zvi Sahar’s “Salt of the Earth” is made out of an Israeli combat bag from the 1967 war. Sahar thought that he might make the figure out of stone or olive wood, but when he saw the bag at a Jaffa flea market, he liked it immediately.

Ships: Jim R. Moore

Shulamit’s Song

10/28/2014
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From Neil Diamond’s 1969 gospel-infused tune, “Holly Holy,” to this past summer’s “Song of Solomon: The Musical” by Andrew Beall and Neil van Leeuwen, the Song of Songs from the Hebrew Bible has inspired American songwriters for generations. Now comes pianist Dina Pruzhansky’s chamber opera, “Shulamit,” which centers on the bold and beautiful lover taken by King Solomon. The work, which premieres this weekend at the JCC Manhattan, will be sung in Hebrew with English supertitles.

Pianist Dina Pruzhansky’s chamber opera, “Shulamit,” is based on the biblical Song of Songs. Rusiko Mchedlishvili

‘This Is About How Rich

Filmmaker Péter Forgács re-orchestrates the poignant home movies taken by Polish-American Jews returning to the Old Country.

10/28/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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The faces look out at you, some shy, some defiant, some amused, some even downright playful. They are men and women, children and the elderly. It’s the late-1920s, the 1930s, these are Jews living in the Poland of the late-1920s and ’30, and although neither they nor the American citizens filming them know it, they are doomed. The images bespeak a flourishing culture, but by the end of the Second World War, 90 percent of Polish Jews will have been murdered by the Nazis and their accomplices.

The movies in “Letters to Afar” were filmed in such Polish shtetls as Kaluszyn and Kolbuszowa. Courtesy of YIVO Archive

A Writer Of A Certain Age (And Temperament)

Brian Morton’s latest literary creation is a feisty New York character through and through.

10/21/2014
Culture Editor
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What distinguishes a New York novel are not just the streetscapes, but also the pull this great city has on its characters. The eponymous Florence Gordon is one of those fictional New Yorkers who believe that “a life that took place elsewhere couldn’t truly be called life.”

Novelist Brian Morton’s latest work is a kind of generational tug of war.  David Kumin

Caught In History’s Maelstrom

10/21/2014
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Mass migrations and persecutions can be difficult for us to comprehend, since they involve so many people and so many overlapping historical trajectories. Actress Pippa White finds a way into these wrenching social and political shifts through a laser- sharp focus on individuals caught up in the maelstrom of history. In two one-woman shows, “Voices from the Resistance” and “Voices from Ellis Island,” White brings to life the true stories of those daring men and women who risked their lives for freedom. Each show runs next week for one performance only at the United Solo Festival in Midtown.

Actress Pippa White performs roles of women resisting the Nazis, and coming to the U.S., in show at Theatre Row.

For Young Polish Jews, ‘Return To A New Life’

Adam Zucker’s documentary looks at the rebirth of Jewish life through the lens of four women.

10/21/2014
Staff Writer
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A veteran film editor and director-producer of several documentaries, all of which center on the African-American experience, Adam Zucker won a travel grant to Poland in 2008. He had not been there before, and had only distant family ties to the country.

Scenes from “The Return,” which premieres here this week.

Islam And Judaism On This Dinner Menu

Ayad Akhtar’s Pulitzer-winning ‘Disgraced’ asks broad questions about the interplay between the two faiths.

10/14/2014
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‘Islam comes from the desert,” says the character Amir over dinner at his lavish Manhattan apartment. “From a group of tough- minded, tough-living people who saw life as something … to be suffered. Jews reacted to the situation differently. They turned it over and over and over. I mean look at the Talmud. They’re looking at things from a hundred different angles. … Muslims don’t think about it. They submit.”

The cast of “Disgraced.”  Andrew Eccles

The Long Wait

10/14/2014
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Fed up with decades of slaving away at Lindy’s, waiters at that iconic Jewish eatery used to joke about writing a tell-all memoir, “I’ve Waited Long Enough.” Brad Zimmerman knows the feeling. After 29 years of waiting tables as an unemployed actor, he finally has his own one-man stand-up show, “My Son the Waiter: A Jewish Tragedy,” in which he chronicles his agonizing odyssey to the stage. When it ran in June in Southern California, critic Pam Kragen of the San Diego Union-Tribune called the show “witty and deeply personal … part confessional, part therapy session and part black comedy.” It opens this Sunday on the Upper West Side.

Brad Zimmerman in his one-man show,  “My Son, the Waiter: A Jewish Tragedy.”  Ken Jacques
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