The Arts

The Keys To Beethoven

10/31/2002 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Charles Rosen’s story begins like that of a typical son of Jewish immigrants. His mother and father came to the States as children, “my father from Moscow, my mother from near Odessa, a place that’s now part of Romania,” he says. He remembers that his maternal grandmother didn’t speak any English, “only Yiddish when I was around. She kept kosher and she wouldn’t eat with us except a hard-boiled egg.”

Deconstructing Derrida

10/23/2002 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Martin Heidegger once said that a biography of Aristotle should be simple, saying “He was born. He thought. He died.” The rest, the German philosopher said, was merely anecdote.

Jacques Derrida says that he doesn’t agree with Heidegger’s position, although he can see the point of it. The famed French thinker, the father of deconstruction, admits there is more to his own life than that, even if he is unwilling to fill in a lot of the blanks.

A World Without Black & White

10/17/2002 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Tim Blake Nelson is hardly the first person to have his life changed by reading the works of Primo Levi. The profound moral probity, intellectual integrity and artistic brilliance of Levi’s writings about his survival of Auschwitz have stirred anyone who has encountered his work. But Nelson is uniquely positioned to extend to Levi’s influence beyond his own life to that of others.

Better Late Than Never

10/10/2002 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Stefan Wolpe was one of the lucky ones. A left-wing Jewish activist who had been composing difficult music for Dadaists and workers choruses, he knew he would have to leave his native Germany as soon as Adolf Hitler came to power in January 1933. After a year in Vienna, he moved to Palestine, from which he was able, ruefully, to watch the flames mount in his native Berlin and the rest of Germany. By the time those flames engulfed the rest of Europe, Wolpe was in the United States to stay.

The Lure Of Coexistence

09/26/2002 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Fishermen go where the fish are. Borders and national boundaries mean little to men whose lives are regulated by tides, currents and wind.

Even in the Middle East.

“Area K: A Political Fishing Documentary” by Nadav Harel and Ramon Bloomberg is an adroit hour-long film that explores a rare area of cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians, the product, ironically enough, of the attempt of Israeli military authorities to impose borders on the fishermen of Gaza City.

Holes In The Screen

01/15/2008 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

This year’s edition of the New York Jewish Film Festival has been an instructive experience. Even a program as large as this one cannot claim to be representative; there are simply too many Jewish filmmakers working in too many different political, socioeconomic and even geographical contexts to be given voice. However, a few tentative conclusions can be drawn, with the final handful of movies serving nicely to underline our findings.

A Lesson In Location

01/15/2008 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Joseph Cedar’s learning curve has been impressive. The New York-born Israeli filmmaker has made only three feature films to date, and each has been the Israeli representative to the Academy Awards. From his intelligent but uneven first feature, “Time of Favor,” through his sophomore effort, “Campfire,” to his new film, “Beaufort,” is a series of quantum leaps in assurance, control of tone, creative use of screen space and sheer cinematic intelligence.

Instrument Of Faith

09/26/2002 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

When Margot Leverett began playing the clarinet as a child, she didn’t know where it would lead her.

She might not have guessed that it would become a career.

She couldn’t have guessed that it would bring her a new faith.

All she was looking for was an instrument she could carry.

No Two Documentaries Are Alike

01/08/2008 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

The second week of the New York Jewish Film Festival is heavily weighted towards documentaries, but these days that label covers such a huge swatch of territory that you can’t know what to expect. The movies included in this year’s event are no exception to the trend toward the unconventional in nonfiction cinema.

High Ground, High Anxiety

01/01/2008 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Now in its 17th year, the New York Jewish Film Festival, which opens Jan. 9, is truly a fixture on the local film calendar, so much so that this year’s event includes one world premiere, 10 U.S. premieres and 12 New York premieres. If you subtract the seven retrospectives (see sidebar), that means that all but one of the 32 films in this year’s festival are so new that the prints are still wet from the lab.

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