Summer's Overflowing With Jewish Films and Festivals

Blockbusters, Art Films and Docudramas Fill Theaters

By Ezra Glinter

Published July 25, 2011.
  • Print
  • Share Share

‘Captain America’

Captain America

The Captain America character, created in 1940 by writer Joe Simon and artist Jack Kirby, was originally an allegory for American intervention in World War II. Now a summer blockbuster by director Joe Johnston, “Captain America: The First Avenger,” casts a nostalgic eye on a more innocent-seeming time. But with the sheen of American interventionism having worn off, how much appeal does the character still have in 2011? A lot, writes John Semley.

Read more


‘Sarah’s Key’

Sarah's Key

In the French film “Sarah’s Key,” by director Gilles Paquet-Brenner, a journalist tries to find out more about France’s notorious Vel’ d’Hiv roundup, in which thousands of Jews were arrested and interned in Paris’s velodrome and the Drancy internment camp before being sent to Auschwitz. But for an episode in which millions of ordinary people stood passively by in the face of evil, all of the film’s characters seem to have been the ones who did the right thing. While depicting the event this way is the emotionally easier route to take, it also obscures the real horrors of the time, writes Jenny Hendrix.

Read more


‘Mabul’

Mabul

July and August are big months for Jewish film festivals. The San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, which is the oldest event of its kind in the U.S., launched its 31st season with the Israeli film “Mabul,” which picked up numerous awards at the Haifa International Film Festival and the Israeli Academy Awards. “Mabul” tells the story of an autistic boy whose care falls to his bar mitzvah-aged brother, and the effect that caring for him has on his family. Though it doesn’t romanticize autism, the film still sounds a triumphant note, writes Elizabeth Stone.

Read more


‘The Woman With the 5 Elephants’

5 Elephants

Today, Svetlana Geier is the most accomplished translator of Russian literature into German, but her own life story is no less dramatic than those of the characters whose exploits she translates. Born in Ukraine, Geier lost her father during Stalin’s purges, and her best friend was murdered by the Nazis at Babi Yar. In a new documentary, whose title references the five major Dostoevsky novels Geier has translated, director Vadim Jendreyko follows her by train as she returns to her homeland for the first time since the war. In “The Woman With the 5 Elephants” Jendreyko’s has created a textured portrait of a poetic and humble woman, writes Myra Mniewski.

Read more


‘The Law in These Parts’

Mabul

Winner of the prize for Best Documentary at the Jerusalem Film Festival, “The Law in These Parts” explores the legal side of military rule in the occupied territories. Director Ra’anan Alexandrowicz shows how law is a kind of narrative that relies on interpretation, and draws a parallel between the process of legal judgment and that of documentary filmmaking. Both are undertaken by people with their own views, goals and agendas, writes Olga Gershenson.

Read more

Read more film coverage on The Arty Semite blog here.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.