There’s something familiar about “Kaddish for a Friend,” the coming of age/unlikely friendship tale screening at this year’s Atlanta Jewish Film Festival. Indeed, Berlin-born director Leo Kashin’s full-length debut reeks of “Karate Kid,” Clint Eastwood’s “Gran Torino,” and any number of movies from the “young fish out of water befriends a crusty old guy from a different culture” genre. But the film has so much spunk and earnestness that familiarity takes on a quality of warmth, rather than of staleness. To put it another way, it’s like watching a really well done adaptation of a Shakespeare comedy as a high school flick, only this time, “The Karate Kid” is the source text.
“2 night” is a rich, complex film based on two simple premises. The first is the sheer impossibility of finding a parking space in Tel Aviv at 2 a.m. on a weekend. The second is an experiment in dating without pretense: What if, when two people embarked on a relationship, they showed their true colors immediately? Would it speed up the voyage to deeper intimacy, or send the two lovers running and screaming in opposite directions?
The craft of acting, like writing, is a very difficult thing to talk about without sounding like a dallying idiot. Perversely, it’s also one of the hardest topics to stop talking about once you’ve started, since it’s rife with irresolvable quandaries about “intent,” “truth,” and the nature of Little Red Riding Hood’s relationship with her mother. Like all shop talk, it’s a conversation that gets tiresome very quickly for the non-actors in the room.
Almost 150 years after shots rang out at Fort Sumter, the United States has yet to fully recover from the brutalities of the Civil War. The conflict ripped families apart along regional lines, and pummeled the economy and infrastructure of many Southern cities into such disrepair that many are still working on their reconstruction. When the increasingly bitter fight over slavery and states’ rights developed into full-on war, thousands of men on both sides rushed to volunteer for the armed services, including hundreds of Jewish Americans. And yet, according to the documentary “Jewish Soldiers in Blue & Gray,” screening February 13 and 22 at the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, Jewish militiamen’s accomplishments have been woefully overlooked.