Allen Ellenzweig


Josef Mengele in Patagonia

By Allen Ellenzweig

Josef Mengele in Patagonia
It seems apt that a renowned figure of evil — the Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, the so-called “Angel of Death,” notorious for his cold-blooded “selections” at Auschwitz — should inspire a film whose mood is at once mysterious and sinister, yet whose visual style is strangely poetic, perhaps even terrifyingly beautiful.Read More


Guru of the Sexual Revolution

By Allen Ellenzweig

Guru of the Sexual Revolution
In “The Strange Case of Wilhelm Reich,” shown recently at the New York Jewish Film Festival, Austrian writer and director Antonin Svoboda presents us with a sobering but odd theatrical feature about the controversial analyst and sex philosopher Wilhelm Reich.Read More


For Some Characters, Communism Is Never Over

By Allen Ellenzweig

For Some Characters, Communism Is Never Over
A tale of adult children discovering the romantic mysteries of their parents’ past hardly presents new thematic territory. These discoveries are made after death thanks to the documentary evidence a parent leaves behind: letters, photographs, school reports, and war-related transcripts. Don’t a son and daughter in a sleepy farming community discover their mother’s hot and heavy affair with a passing photographer in “Bridges of Madison County”?Read More


Jew and Cardinal Both

By Allen Ellenzweig

Jew and Cardinal Both
Made as a film for the French-German television network, Arté, “The Jewish Cardinal,” screening January 20 at the New York Jewish Film Festival, nevertheless has the scope and sobriety of a feature film.Read More


Triumph and Tragedy of First Woman Rabbi

By Allen Ellenzweig

Triumph and Tragedy of First Woman Rabbi
Diana Groó’s “poetic documentary” “Regina,” screening January 15 at the New York Jewish Film Festival, is constructed out of meager visual evidence. There is, after all, only one surviving photo of her subject, the Berlin-born Regina Jonas (1902-1944), who became the first ordained female rabbi. But if necessity is the mother of invention, then Groó’s method is to create a lyrical meditation on a life whose contours were barely known or remembered until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1991. The subsequent reunification of Germany allowed a rush of researchers and scholars to fill in important historical lacunae from musty archives.Read More






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