Steven Zeitchik


Strangers in a Strange Land

By Steven Zeitchik

Strangers in a Strange Land
Israeli cinema has made some notable strides over the past few years, thanks to a new generation of documentarians and the bohemian visions of the likes of Eytan Fox (“Walk on Water,” “The Bubble”) and Avi Nesher (the entertainingly ambitious “The Secret,” which may be the world’s first lesbian-Kabbalah-grrl power-yeshiva drama). These filmmakers have taken the country’s film culture in the right direction. But that culture still lacks a defining vision, and the movies that can represent it — the country’s “Citizen Kane” or “Casablanca,” or even its “E.T.” or “The Breakfast Club” — to help it move beyond the impressive but ultimately narrow films of Amos Gitai and a generation of political directors.Read More


Looking Back at the Year in Pictures

By Steven Zeitchik

In an era in which choice threatens to overwhelm us, the overlooked film has become all too common. Jewish-themed films are, in this sense, doubly cursed. They cross into so many categories that unearthing them — and unearthing what makes them Jewish — is trickier than ever. And yet it is also technology that makes it easier both to produce and discover new films, as the indie filmmakers and the surprising number of viewers who seek them out could tell you. Read More


A Documentary Wrings Poetry From Politics

By Steven Zeitchik

Almost as inevitable as the endless feature stories about the recent increase in political documentaries is the limpness of the films themselves. A strong documentary demands both surprising characters and a rich ethical imagination; make subjects’ impulses too obvious, as many of these films do, and you wind up with pamphleteering, pandering or Michael Moore.Read More


Israeli Tennis Players Serve Up New Image

By Steven Zeitchik

“The ball tails away from him when it’s on the far side of the court,” Jonathan Erlich whispers to his doubles partner, Andy Ram, as Ram gets ready to receive serve. Ram nods, lightly slaps his partner’s hand lightly and heads up to the net. A minute later, he is flicking a perfect backhand volley into the doubles alley, which catches his opponent flat footed. Ram and Erlich slap hands again, this time more emphatically.Read More


Lust, Faith and Phylacteries

By Steven Zeitchik

‘Mendy: A Question of Faith” is cinematic proof that putting faith and sex in a movie doesn’t make the film about religion, and doesn’t necessarily make it sexy.In this cheesily staged feature, which is showing through May 26 at Cinema Village in Manhattan, the titular character (Ivan Sandomire) is a Satmar Hasid who has developed someRead More



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