The Arts

‘Generation War’ Hampered By Form

Five-hour WWII combat/Holocaust film too bound up in genres’ conventions.

01/13/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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There is no art without limits, as Orson Welles once observed. Creativity has its birth in constraint, and all art is bound by conventions. This is nowhere truer than in film genres, those collections of familiar images, settings, themes and tropes that serve as a guide for both filmmakers and audiences.

Ludwig Trepte and Katharina Schutter in "Generation War." Music Box Films

Arik Shaon: Master Of The Turnaround

In his just-released biography of Ariel Sharon, David Landau chronicles the transformation of a hawk.

01/10/2014
Culture Editor
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When Ariel Sharon was elected prime minister of Israel in 2001, David Landau was almost in mourning. He and his left-leaning friends thought of Sharon as a disaster, a warmonger. But Landau changed his mind, as he witnessed Sharon’s own transformation as a leader, ultimately breaking with his past and directing Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005.

Arik, The life of Ariel Sharon

'The Most of Nora Ephron' Serves A Feast

01/10/2014
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The Most of Nora Ephron is a one-stop shop for all your Ephron needs. The work anthologizes huge portions of the author’s career, publishing selections from her life as a Newsweek feature writer, an essayist, blogger, novelist, Oscar nominee for the screenplay When Harry Met Sally, and Tony award winner for her play “Lucky Guy,” about Daily News reporter Mike McAlary’s work on the Abner Louima story.  

The new Nora Ephron anthology was published posthumously but begun before her death.

She Moved The Pop Music Earth

How a Brooklyn girl named Carol Klein bridged cultures in the ’60s and rewrote American popular song.

01/08/2014
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She took an unconventional route to superstardom, but it was a soulful road that Carole King traveled.

Born Carol Klein in Brooklyn in 1942, she did not set out to become a performer. In “Beautiful,” the new musical about King that opens this Sunday on Broadway, King’s career as a budding songwriter comes to the fore. Starring Jessie Mueller (“On a Clear Day You Can See Forever”) as King, the musical opens a window on a pivotal 1960s era in pop music in which a group of mostly Jewish composers and lyricists wrote for mostly black performers, changing the face of American culture in the process.

King of American Pop: Play looks at her career. Getty Images

‘Waltzing’ Into The Future With Bashir's New Film

‘Waltzing With Bashir’ director’s new science-fiction film, five years in the making, is a confusing vision; films about Amy Winehouse, ‘the Jewish Cardinal’ and a Molly Picon retrospective.

01/07/2014
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This is the second of three articles on this year’s N.Y. Jewish Film Festival.

Ari Folman’s 2008 animated film “Waltz With Bashir” was a breakthrough effort on many levels, one of a series of Israeli films to be nominated for the best foreign-language Academy Award, and a tough-minded work that helped forge a new subgenre of animated documentaries; it was a film that confirmed what some of us knew for a long time — that a “cartoon” could be serious and demanding. Anyone with an interest in film was eagerly awaiting Folman’s next project.

BBC documentary about the late Amy Winehouse focuses on one of her concerts.

Very Short Fiction From A Ukranian Emigre

The funny and bittersweet stories of Ukrainian emigre writer and miniaturist Marina Rubin.

01/07/2014
Culture Editor
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Marina Rubin’s very short stories are shorter than most articles in this newspaper.

But she would never leave a sentence dangling like that. Each one of the 74 stories in “Stealing Cherries” (Manic D Press) unfolds into 14 to 18 lines — no paragraph breaks, few capital letters — that form a block of text on the page (the last word always ends at the right margin). Her writing is sparse and precise, yet also lush, with long sentences packed full of life, drama and artistry.

Marina Rubin is another Jewish writer from the former Soviet Union making her mark on the world of literature.

Very, Very Short Fiction, Mining An Immigrant's Experience

The funny and sad stories of Ukrainian emigre writer and miniaturist Marina Rubin.

01/02/2014
Culture Editor
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Marina Rubin’s very short stories are shorter than most articles in this newspaper.

Literary miniaturist Marina Rubin. Photo courtesy Manic D Press

Staging Imre Kertész’s Take On Kaddish

12/31/2013
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Of all Jewish prayers, perhaps the best known is the Kaddish, the memorial prayer for the dead. But for the celebrated Hungarian Jewish author, Imre Kertész, who survived Auschwitz and Buchenwald, Kaddish became a way of mourning the child he never had, the child whom he refused to bring into a post-Holocaust world. Now Kertész’s celebrated stream-of-consciousness novel, “Kaddish for an Unborn Child,” has been turned into a one-man play, “Kaddish.” Starring Jake Goodman, it runs this month at the 14th Street Y.

Jake Goodman stars in the one-man play “Kaddish.” Atilla Takacs

NY Jewish Film Festival Goes In Fresh Directions

‘Sorrow and the Pity’ director’s new film memoir is a highlight of first week of this year's festival.

12/31/2013
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Note: This is the first of three articles on this year’s N.Y. Jewish Film Festival.

Now in its 23rd year, the New York Jewish Film Festival, which opens on Jan. 8, is not only one of the oldest such events in the world, it is also becoming one of the biggest. With this year’s festival, the Film Society of Lincoln Center and The Jewish Museum are adding several sidebar events that will take them in some interesting new directions. Ultimately, what really matters is less the ambition of the programmers than the quality of the films they select.

Howie Mandel is one of the comics interviewed in Alan Zweig’s “When Jews Were Funny."

Gained In Translation?

The new romantic comedy ‘Handle With Care’ turns on questions of language and miscommunication.

12/24/2013
Jewish Week Correspondent
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The husband-and-wife team behind the new play “Handle With Care” forged new connections with each other working on a script  about, of all things, how difficult it can be for people to forge a connection.

Jonathan Sale, Sheffield Chastain, Carole Lawrence and Charlotte Cohn in “Handle With Care.”
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