The Arts

A Suicide In The Family

Mexican-Jewish director Mariana Chenillo mines her grandparents’ story in ‘Nora’s Will.’
10/11/2010 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Beginning writers and filmmakers are always told, “Write what you know.” While that is certainly sound advice, it should come with a warning label that reads, “May lead to hurt feelings among friends and family, screaming, yelling, possible bloody nose.” Mariana Chenillo, whose superb first feature film “Nora’s Will” opens on Friday, managed to avoid all of those pitfalls, but drawing on her family history for the film’s story was not without its nervous moments.

Fernando Luján as a cynical, weary man who has suffered with his wife’s suicide attempts in “Nora’s Will.”

For Blacks And Jews, A Musical Gray Area

Collection featuring black musicians singing Jewish songs masks a complicated cultural relationship.
10/11/2010 - 20:00
Staff Writer

In 1958, when Johnny Mathis was recording an album of African-American spirituals in homage to his black mother, he included a seemingly odd song: “Kol Nidre,” the centerpiece of the Yom Kippur service and perhaps the holiest of all Jewish prayers.

“Kol Nidre,” said Johnny Mathis, who recorded the prayer on a 1958 album, “is just a big, big emotional outpouring.”

An Age-Old Love Story

10/04/2010 - 20:00

 Our society worships youth. Rarely do older people appear in popular culture, and when they do, they are often treated as objects of ridicule.

 Enter Peter L. Levy’s play, “Friends,” about two elderly Jewish New Yorkers, each of whom claims the right to a park bench in Central Park. Over time their turf battle morphs into friendship, and then romance. When Levy’s play first ran in San Francisco in 2003, Dan Pine of the Jewish News Weekly of Northern California noted the play’s “uniquely wistful Jewish air.”

The Filmmaker As Therapist

Jay Rosenblatt and the healing power of cinema.
10/04/2010 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

 Jay Rosenblatt’s parents would probably have wanted him to be a doctor. After all, that’s what Jewish parents of baby boomers usually wanted for their kids in Sheepshead Bay. And Rosenblatt, born there in 1955, almost accommodated them. He was a mental health therapist for several years, working in hospitals and leading group therapy sessions. He was working towards his master’s degree in counseling when the lightning bolt hit him.

Feeling David Grossman’s — And Israel’s — Pain

The personal and the political collide in profound ways in his new novel.
10/04/2010 - 20:00
Staff Writer

The first thing David Grossman did in a recent Jewish Week interview was apologize: “The protest ran an hour later than expected,” he said, after pushing back the planned start time. “I couldn’t leave.”

Grossman’s novel follows a single mother on a month-long trek across Israel.

French Dialogue, ‘Navajo’ Subtitles

NY Film Fest’s Jewish-themed offerings are moody works by European old masters; just don’t expect to understand everything.
09/28/2010 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

By a curious coincidence, the two new feature films in this year’s New York Film Festival that deal directly with Jewish themes are the work of two older masters of European cinema, neither of them Jewish: Manoel de Oliveira and Jean-Luc Godard. It would be hard to imagine two more dissimilar films than Oliveira’s “The Strange Case of Angelica” and Godard’s “Film Socialisme,” as even their titles suggest. Perhaps those differences are derived from the distance between their birth dates: 1908 in Oliveira’s case, 1930 in Godard’s.

Jean Luc Godard

From Lesbian Intermarried Moms To Groucho Marx

New York Musical Theater Festival features several overtly Jewish shows.
09/27/2010 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

OK, they may not be “Fiddler on the Roof.”

But several new musicals debuting at the New York Musical Theater  Festival are taking on Jewish themes and characters in a big way.

“The Most Ridiculous Thing You Ever Hoid” recreates a Marx Brothers radio show from 1932, complete with the antics and energy of

Humanizing The Gaza War

Pulitzer-winning writer Lawrence Wright turns his New Yorker article into a one-man show on the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
09/27/2010 - 20:00
Staff Writer

 Last spring, Lawrence Wright, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for The New Yorker, approached David Remnick, the magazine’s editor, about writing a story on the chances for peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Most editors would jump at any story idea by big-name writer, but The New Yorker has luxuries other magazines don’t.

Lawrence Wright, below, in scene from his one-man show “The Human Scale.” Kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, whose photo is pro

The Doctors Of Evil

Robert Lifton discusses his interviews with the physicians who carried out the Nazi killing program.
09/27/2010 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Early in the excellent new documentary “Robert Lifton: Nazi Doctors,” co-director Wolfgang Richter expresses his concern to Dr. Lifton about the sheer immensity of the Holocaust as a topic for study. Lifton, who is the very soul of calm and equanimity throughout the film, replies quietly: “One can only do so much ... One has to fail to comprehend the entire event. It’s elusive, but one can capture or illuminate some portion of it.”

Of the Nazi doctors he interviewed, Robert Lifton said: “They were looking for a kind of absolution.”

Answering The ‘Nuremberg’ Call

For Sandra Schulberg, a sense of obligation surrounded her restoration of her father’s film of the historic Nazi trial.
09/20/2010 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

The road from Auschwitz to Nuremberg is a twisting, uncertain one. Some of the Nazis who walked it did so in shackles, much deserved. For others, it was a liberation in the most profound sense. Ernest Michel was one of those lucky few.

A cameraman films during the Nuremberg Trials.
Syndicate content