The Arts

Tsuris In Tulsa

Tim Blake Nelson’s quirky version of
a hard-won tikkun olam on view in ‘Leaves of Grass.’

04/01/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

Tim Blake Nelson’s new film has a title, “Leaves of Grass,” that has two meanings for its protagonists — it explicitly references both the Walt Whitman magnum opus and marijuana. That’s only appropriate for a film that is structured around doubling, doppelgangers, secret lives and identities.

Richard Dreyfuss in high dudgeon as the Oklahoma drug kingpin Pug Rothbaum.

Passover Form And Function

For Israeli photographer Galia Gur Zeev, the seder table suggests multiple meanings.

03/29/2010
Staff Writer

 A few things immediately come to mind when you think, "Passover seder": matzah, maror, charoset, four glasses of wine. But in "Seder.Table," a cool, stark and fascinating new photography exhibit at the 92nd Street Y, none of that matters. In fact, the artist, Galia Gur Zeev, while showing several plates, people around them, and a large wooden table, doesn't even show a crumb of food.

"Seder.Table": a body of work that is notably domestic yet still richly varied

Remembering The Forgotten

New Holocaust documentary
highlights the experiences of those
in lesser-known transports.

03/23/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

Lukas Pribyl was looking for his grandfather. He knew the old man had been deported from Czechoslovakia in October 1939. He knew his grandfather had been taken to a camp whose name was all but forgotten, not one of the infamous extermination camps of Poland or the concentration camps for political prisoners like Dachau or Mauthausen. Just a small way station in the hell that was Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe, a siding to oblivion where his grandfather died.
 

Young Polish Jews in happier times: An image from Lukas Pribyl’s “Forgotten Transports: To Poland.”

Stiller Waters Run Deep

In ‘Greenberg,’ Ben Stiller veers from the typical Jewish neurotic role.

03/23/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

Roger Greenberg, the eponymous hero of Noah Baumbach’s new film, “Greenberg,” is a direct descendant of all those solipsistic, narcissistic, inconsiderate neurotics embodied by Woody Allen and, most recently, Larry David. At 40, he is a twitching bundle of nerves, barely suppressed anger and tightly held grudges going back to his college days. And he is unmistakably Jewish, although, as he dryly notes, “my mother is a Protestant, so I don’t even count.”

Character rather than caricature: Stiller as  Roger Goldberg.

Klezmer’s True North

Remembering the clarinetist who sparked the klez revival.

03/18/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

Readers will no doubt recall a long-running advertising campaign for a fur company that posed famous women with the slogan, “What becomes a legend most?” Not, we grant, a campaign you’d be likely to see in these more animal-friendly days, but the question is a good one, “What becomes a legend most?”
 
If the legend is a musician, the answer is simple: play the music. Anything extra is nice, but nearly extraneous.    
 

Joel Rubin, right, pays tribute to Dave Tarras, left, in concert at Museum at Eldridge Street.

Portrait Of A Nazi Serial Killer

‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’ is an example
of the mystery genre fulfilling the Jewish injunction to remember.

03/18/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

At its heart the mystery genre is about how people deal with past actions. Go all the way back to “Oedipus Rex” and you’ve got a man investigating a crime that happened decades before, and its consequences in the present. It’s a perfect setup for a people whose religion explicitly and repeatedly tells them to remember the past.
 

Niels Arden Oplev’s new “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” has no Jewish characters but a Jewish theme.

Biblical Psychology

02/06/2004
Staff Writer

Ask clinical psychologist Marsha Mirkin, and she’ll tell you that the essential psychology textbook was written more than 3,000 years before the birth of pioneering analyst Sigmund Freud. Freud may have deemed religion “a mass delusion,” but Mirkin contends that the Divine parables of the Torah can provide unrivaled insights into human behavior.

Almost Everything Is Illuminated

Yeshiva University Museum exhibit features a dazzling array
of mostly hand-written Hebrew books.

03/18/2010

About six years ago, the curator Sharon L. Mintz was looking for rare printed Talmuds for an exhibit she was organizing at the Yeshiva University Museum. She came across the name of a little-known collector in Switzerland who said he could help. Mintz was flown out to the private home of the collector, but discovered that he had much more than Talmuds.
 

The new exhibit is devoted to the collection of rare Hebrew books held by Rene Braginsky

New/Old French Lenses

A directorial debut and the latest from veteran Robert Guediguian highlight ‘Rendezvous with French Cinema’ series.

03/11/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

French film criticism graduates filmmakers the way Penn State used to turn out linebackers. The latest example is Axelle Ropert, one-time editor of “La Lettre du Cinema,” whose first feature, “The Wolberg Family,” is one of the pleasant surprises in this year’s “Rendezvous with French Cinema” series.

The French Family Wolberg: Axelle Ropert’s new film portrays a Jewish family with hidden secrets.

Out Of South Africa

Whether in “The Nose” or his stop-animation,
artist William Kentridge’s work is unmistakably Jewish.

03/11/2010
Staff Writer

The Museum of Modern Art’s new retrospective of the work of the South African artist William Kentridge is organized around five themes. “Themes” is something of a misnomer, though, since the five sections of the show coalesce around what might more accurately be described as “distinct bodies of work.” Either way, several themes (and certainly more than five) recur in many sections, with at least one being very hard to ignore: Jewishness, an omnipresent feature throughout Kentridge’s oeuvre.

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