The pioneering, nonagenarian Jewish journalist is a perfect documentary subject; fortunately, the film landed the perfect director as well.
Special to the Jewish Week
Ruth Gruber, the subject of a wonderfully economical and crisp documentary, "Ahead of Time," is a magnificent one-of-a-kind figure in 20th-century Jewish history. Gruber is the product of, she recounts with a grin, "a shtetl called Brooklyn. … Everybody there was Jewish." She was a prodigy who entered New York University at 15 and earned a doctorate from the University of Cologne at 20. But the attractions of the academy couldn't compete with the turmoil of worldwide economic depression, the New Deal at home and the rise of Fascism in Europe.
Hans-Jurgen Syberberg plumbs the German character,
and film history, across more than seven hours in
‘Hitler: A Film from Germany.’
Special To The Jewish Week
The 1970s was the age of heroic avant-gardism, a period of out-sized works — the lengthy “operas” of Robert Wilson, the monumental portraits of Chuck Close, Thomas Pynchon’s “Gravity’s Rainbow,” William Gaddis’ “J.R.” It was a time of omnivorous works that strove to include the entire world — self-referential, bombastic, difficult endurance tests fueled by a frequently thrilling blend of audacity, encyclopedic knowledge and testosterone — nowhere more so than in film, and nowhere in film more than in the films of Hans-J
Jane Ziegelman explores the immigrant experience and the primacy of food in ‘97 Orchard.’
Jewish Week Book Critic
I remember a round coffee table, made of smooth wood and a glass top that revolved, that stood at the center of my parents’ living room for many years. In the days when I wasn’t much taller than the table, my cousins and I would run alongside it as we turned it, and then sit on the edge for a ride, much like a private merry-go-round. The glass top broke several times, but even as we got older and it became less a ride and more a place to serve food, it was my favorite piece of furniture. With yet another new glass top, it now sits in my sister’s home.
Regionally based filmmaking is a relatively new trend in France, with a very few notable exceptions. Prominent among them is Marseille’s Robert Guediguian. Guediguian is an old hand whose newest film, opening this week, is “Army of Crime,” the 16th feature in a directorial career that began almost 30 years ago.
The life and ‘manic cinema’ of the buzz-generating filmmaking duo.
Special To The Jewish Week
What makes a filmmaker’s work Jewish?
Benny Safdie, at 24 the younger half of a filmmaking duo with his brother Josh, earnestly asserts that the Jewishness of the two pervades their work, and this critic tends to agree with him. That work is the subject of a current program at BAMCinemathek that includes not only their two features and many shorts but also films that influenced them.
Safdie also readily admits that he’d be hard put to identify Jewishy specifics from their small but significant output.