Jewish Film Archive Online



Circus Palestina

TITLE: Circus Palestina
YEAR: 1998
DIR/PROD: Eyal Halfon / Marek Rozenbaum, Einat Bikel, Uri Sabag, Haim Sharir
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w/ English subtitles
TIME: 90 minutes
SOURCE: Transfax, Ltd, Tel Aviv
TEXT: Stars Jenya Dodina, Yoram Hatav, Amos Lavi. Music by Shlomo Gronich. Based on a true story. When a broken down Eastern European circus is brought to the West Bank it does more than just entertain. Everyone who comes in contact with the extraordinary circus performers has unique experiences. (They are all protagonists in the future of the Occupied Territories: soldiers, businessmen, kids, black marketeers). A bumbling Israeli soldier (Blieberg) with an obsessive passion for the singer Tom Jones is assigned to watch over the circus. When the lion escapes on Opening Night, it causes widespread panic. It is the focal point of everyone's desire. Blieberg must prove himself by catching the lion in order to regain respect and win the affection of the female lion tamer. Eventually his egotistical commanding officer catches the beast and keeps him. When the circus decides to give up their struggle and leave, Blieberg takes the biggest chance of all to save the circus and prove his love even though it might cost him everything. We feel that...there are so few cultural products created for both Jews and Palestinians that attempt to forge a common bond between the two peoples," say the producers in describing the film's background. Note to file: Is the treasure (lion) so valuable that you risk destroying it to obtain it? Israeli and Palestinian cast and crew involved in the production.

Dangerous Acts

TITLE: Dangerous Acts
YEAR: 1998
DIR/PROD: Shemi Zarhin / Eitan Evan
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English subtitles
TIME: 96
SOURCE: http://www.indic.co.il
TEXT: Stars Gila Almagor, Moshe Ivgi, Nathan Datner, Amos Lavie, Yuval Zamir, Sarit and Vino Elad. In this dark psychological thriller, a successful stage actress is confronted by the man who caused her entire family to be killed in an automobile accident three years earlier. A strange bond forms between them when the man threatens to jump off a roof if she will not forgive him. Segments from the actress's career, a bloody, macabre musical, are interwoven, adding an ironic touch to this film which examines guilt, loneliness and the ambivalence of good and evil. This is Shemi Zarhin's second feature film following "Passover Fever". Winner of 7 1998 Israeli Academy Awards

Love at Second Sight

TITLE: Love at Second Sight
YEAR: 1998
DIR/PROD: Michel Bat-Adam / Michel Bat-Adam
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w/ English subtitles
TIME: 90
SOURCE: http://www.indic.co.il
TEXT: Stars Michal Zuaratz, Yossi Yadin, Natan Cogan. After photographing a dramatic situation on the streets of Tel Aviv where a man is threatening to jump off a roof, Nina, 20, a news photographer becomes infatuated with the image of a young man she accidently captures on film in the crowd. Without knowing why, she begins to search for him. As the search becomes an obsession, her friends and colleagues try in vain to dissuade her, but Nina has fallen in love with the face in her photograph and cannot live without finding him. The film also parallels a tender past relationship with her photographer grandfather who was her confidant and mentor.

Family Secrets

TITLE: Family Secrets
YEAR: 1998
DIR/PROD: Nitza Gonen / Eitan Evan and Moshe Levinson
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English subtitles
TIME: 92
SOURCE: http://www.indic.co.il
TEXT: Stars Romi Aboulafia, Michael Hanegbi, Eli Cohen, Aviv Joel, Alex Peleg, Galia Soudri, and Adi Terer. An unusual and innocent love story develops between two teenage cousins: Rivi (Israeli), and Shauli (American). The two meet every summer at the home of their grandparents in Herzliya and discover love, sexual attraction and the forces of forbidden lust. After their mysterious rich uncle intervenes humiliating them, he ends up dead, and the two are permanently separated. Seventeen years later they are reunited by the death of their grandfather and to settle his inheritance. When they finally reunite they are forced to confront some horribly traumatic childhood secrets involving murder and incest.

Game Over

TITLE: Game Over
YEAR: 1998
DIR/PROD: Yonatan Darmon / Eyal Shiray, David Mandil
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w/ English subtitles
TIME: 85
SOURCE: http://www.indic.co.il
TEXT: Oy, such tzuris. Stars Moshe Ivgy, Elor Harpaz, and Sahar Badishi, with music by Nikmat Hatraktor (The Tractor's Revenge). A group of young men from a poverty ridden development in the south of Israel skip school and go to the city, eventually spending the evening at a Tel Aviv dance club. What follows is a fateful chain of events. One of the young men gets into a fight and accidentally stabs another youth. They escape with a girl from the disco who turns out to be the stabbed youth's girlfriend. When a truck driver harasses the girl, one of the boys tries to protect her and shoots the driver. The shooter and the girl run away to the beach and are pursued by a police officer who is determined to save the young people from themselves.

Hide and Seek

TITLE: Hide and Seek
YEAR: 1998
DIR/PROD: Iris rubin / Silvan Bigeleisen
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w/ English subtitles
TIME: 55
SOURCE: http://www.israelfilmfestival.com
TEXT: Three women, confined by life in a traditional Sephardi community, discover fulfillment by joining a small drama workshop at their local community center. Here they are able to overcome their frustrations and the dissatisfaction in their lives by viewing themselves and their environment through different eyes. Their transition is accompanied by inner doubts, uncertainties and struggles with their husbands who are forced to confront newly independent wives. Documentary.

My Own Daughter

TITLE: My Own Daughter
YEAR: 1998
DIR/PROD: Mooly Landsman
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w/ English subtitles
TIME: 50
SOURCE: http://www.israelfilmfestival.com
TEXT: Sivan, a 22 year old kibbutznik struggles with memories of her father who sexually abused her. The present intermingles with the story of the past: the institutions which lacked the sensitivity to deal with her trauma, the silence and impenetrability of the kibbutz, the indifference of the police and the legal system and the family that doesn't know how to cope. After seeking professional help, Sivan decides to sue her father and take a stand against him for the first time. Documentary.

Remember Assaf

TITLE: Remember Assaf
YEAR: 1998
DIR/PROD: Nathan Lifshitz
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English subtitles
TIME: 50
SOURCE: http://www.israelfilmfestival.com
TEXT: The life of Assaf Sibony, a young soldier killed in a helicopter disaster, is recalled by family and friends. Assaf was killed on his way to military service in Lebanon and the film marks the first anniversary of his death. Even though the image of Assaf is the central focus, the film strives, simply and without pathos, to make a statement about Israel's youth, its destiny and the acceptance of one's fate. Documentary.

Fifth Commandment (Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother)

TITLE: Fifth Commandment (Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother)
YEAR: 1998
DIR/PROD: Shimon Azulay / Dina Samach, S Azulay
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w/ English subtitles
TIME: 47
SOURCE: http://www.israelfilmfestival.com
TEXT: Documentary. When the director's brother become religious, the delicate fabric holding his family together begins to unravel. His parents fight to remain united in spite of the enormous gap that exists between their children. Through a series of family gatherings, birthdays and holidays, this deeply personal story examines the complex structure of a family trying to stay together through one of the major conflicts that exists in Israeli society.

A Prime Minister's Schedule

TITLE: A Prime Minister's Schedule
YEAR: 1998
DIR/PROD: Shahar Segal / Sasha Klein
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w/ English subtitles
TIME: 80 minutes
SOURCE: www.israelfilmfestival.com
TEXT: Documentary. This film draws a picture of Yitzhak Rabin: beloved prime minister, international statesman, patriarch, a close-knit family, and close friend in the days leading up to his assassination on November 4. Told by the people who knew him best, it contains a selection of personal anecdotes that relay a penetrating picture of the man as a leader. Moments from the personal and private life of this beloved leader are woven together, revealing the intimate story of a man who brought the hope of peace to his people and their neighbors.

Daavid - Stories of Honor and Shame

TITLE: Daavid - Stories of Honor and Shame
YEAR: 1998
DIR/PROD: Taru Makela
COUNTRY: Finland
LANGUAGE: Finnish w/ English subtitles
TIME: 94 minutes
SOURCE: Eighth Annual NY Jewish Film Fest
TEXT: Documentary. The story of religious faith and patriotism, and what happens when the two conflict. In the winter of 1942, Jewish soldiers in the Finnish Army erected a field synagogue less than a half mile from where their German allies were posted in their fight with the Soviet Army. Includes never before seen footage, recordings of confidential meetings between Finnish officals, and interviews with Jewish veterans.

A Trip to Malin

TITLE: A Trip to Malin
YEAR: 1997
DIR/PROD: Arkady Kogan
COUNTRY: Russia
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 20 minutes, 35mm
SOURCE: Eighth Annual NY Jewish Film Fest
TEXT: Arkady Kogan is a documentary filmmaker. He returns with his wife and two sons to the tiny village of Malin. He mother implored him, "Do Not Forget Us." His mother's sense of loss is confirmed when her grandsons are unable to recognize the Star of David on their ancestors gravestones.

House of the World / House of Memory

TITLE: House of the World / House of Memory
YEAR: 1998
DIR/PROD: Esther Polenski
COUNTRY: USA/Poland
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 54 minutes in 16mm
SOURCE: Eighth Annual NY Jewish Film Festival
TEXT: This eloquent documentary apys homage to the Jewish cemetery as the house of Jewish memory. Interviewing family members and survivors from Poland, Esther Polenski discovers how they and other Jews returned after the war to find their cemeteries destroyed. Once repaired and now threatened again, these cemeteries are a poignant reminder why cemeteries should be preserved.

Andre's Lives

TITLE: Andre's Lives
YEAR: 1998
DIR/PROD: Brad Lichtenstein
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 64 minute video
SOURCE: Brad Lichtenstein, Lumiere Productions, 26 West 17th Street, 8th Floor New York, NY 10011 212.807.0796
TEXT: This documentary tells the story of a Jewish rescuer who after training at the legendary Bauhaus school of architecture, designed workcamps for Slovak Jews, whom he saved by bribing Nazi officials. Now, 50 years after emigrating to the US, where he became a successful architect, Andre Steiner reluctantly returns with his sons to revisit his Holocaust experiences for the first time.

Delta Jews

TITLE: Delta Jews
YEAR: 1998
DIR/PROD: Mike DeWitt
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 64 minutes, video
SOURCE: Mike Dewitt Productions, 323 West 100th Street, New York, NY 10025, (212/865-9035) Msdewitt@aol.com
TEXT: The Mississippi Delta has been home to generations of Jewish families who have forged a hybrid identity out of their religious and regional heritages. A handful of remaining Jews trace the history of their community, examining the challenges of assimilation and anti-Semitism in a society steeped in Southern pride, Protestantism, and racial/class lines. The relationship between Southern blacks and Jews is also examined. Funding included the Mississippi Educational Network and the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience, Jackson, MS. Note to file: If you like this, you should seek out the History Channel episode that deals with J Edgar Hoover, The FBI, and how the KKK sought to blow up a Mississippi synagogue and kill as many Jewish men women and children as possible. Narrated by Atlanta born, Alfred Uhry (Driving Miss Daisy)

Train of Life / Train de Vie

TITLE: Train of Life
YEAR: 1998
DIR/PROD: Radu Mihaileanu / Frederique Dumas, Ludi Boeker
COUNTRY: France
LANGUAGE: French w/ English subtitles
TIME: 103 minutes
SOURCE: Sundance 1999 World Cinema, Paramount Classics in Fall 1999
TEXT: A story of surreal absurdity and hilarity. It is 1941, the Hebrew year 5701 since creation, and Shlomo (played by Cesar nominated Lionel Abelanski), the shtetl idiot, breathlessly announces the news: The Nazis are coming, and all will be sent to the death camps. As the rabbi (Clement Harari) and the wise men of the shtetl confer on how to react, Shlomo interjects, "A fake deportation train!" The suggestion is adopted, and the preparations begin. Funds are pooled; boxcars are bought one by one, then refurbished and painted a reddish color; uniforms are made for those chosen to play Nazi soldiers. Mordechai (Rufus), the wood merchant, drills the troops that he will command. In order to play a Nazi commander, he has to become one in his mind. After days of frenzied work, argument, and celebration, all is ready. With Mordechai as both Moses and German commander, the train pulls out to begin its madcap race across central Europe. Filled with high suspense and narrow escapes; tense, white-knuckle confrontations; episodes of village life, political satire, surprise turns, Jewish humor, boisterous activity, and utter hilarity, this film captures the full spectrum of human character in the shtetl: the beautiful Esther; the awkward Yossi, her admirer; the frugal bookkeeper, the wise rabbi, and, above all, the crazy Shlomo, who speaks in words of prophecy and poetry. Train of Life, like director Radu Mihaileanu's earlier Betrayed (Sundance 1994), is a powerful depiction of a society gone mad and the dream of escape. A fable set inside the tragedy of the Holocaust, this moving and masterful film is both an affirmation of life and, by artful evocation, a remembrance of lives and a whole culture lost. Notes to File: With a cast of 200 and 8,000 extras, the film makes the whole village, and not just one character, the hero. Each character is imperfect and flawed: vain, silly, stupid, petty, or proud -- the opposite of the perfection that Facism seeks to impose. The shtetl in the film is based on the Romanian shtetl in which the director's father was born. Although all the houses were not really made of wood, the director created the set using all wooden houses with cartoonish colors to give the film its fairy tale quality. Venice Film Fest (Press Award), Sundance Fest (Audience Award). Radu Mihaileanu was born in Romania, where he ran a theater group, acted, wrote, and directed, and collaborated with the Bucharest Yiddish Theater. In 1980 he fled to Israel and then to France. Original Klezmer music by Sarajevo-born (Croat father/Serbian mother) Goran Bregovic, best known for his fusion of Balkan, Gypsy, and Slavic music. Bregovic collaborated with Ofra Haza in Queen Margot. Esther is played by Agathe de la Fontaine (Another 9 1/2 Weeks). The Bookkeeper is played by Bruna Abraham-Kremer

Fools Gold

TITLE: Fools Gold
YEAR: 1999
DIR/PROD: Jeffrey Janger / Lane Janger
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 95 minutes
SOURCE: No distributor at time of writing. Sundance 1999
TEXT: A comedy. Flimp Lopez and Sam Wechter, "the Spanish and the Jew," are outcasts in the near ghost town of Oiltown, Oklahoma, where they work in a local junkyard. As they long for the high life, their drunken curiosity about rumors of a wealthy "Spanish" who has moved to town quickly propels them to a prominent place on the FBI's Most Wanted List. The accidental outlaws skip town with little idea of what has hit them. On the road, they meet two women who apparently are willing to be their partners in crime. But, as with just about everything in this film, things are not what they seem. Meanwhile, their trail is picked up by an FBI agent who spends as much time contemplating his disheveled relationship with his daughter as looking for the criminals. More than simply a quirky comedy, Fools Gold plays with racial identity, stereotypes, and audience expectation. Deliberately defying convention to take the film into uncharted territory, Janger (whose short, Bagel and Lox, played at Sundance in 1995) effectively draws from the actors comic performances that are deftly realized and dry as a bone. The early scenes and characters in the small Oklahoma town are as memorably funny as any in recent memory. As constantly surprising in story line as it is hilarious, Fools Gold plays with the concept of misperceptions on numerous levels, but is itself very much the real thing.

Afraid of Everything

TITLE: Afraid of Everything
YEAR: 1999
DIR/PROD: David Barker /Chris Hoover, David Barker
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 80 minutes, b&w
SOURCE: No distributor at time of writing. Sundance 1999
TEXT: Anne is a 30-something French woman married to Donny. They have a deep love. She is disabled in an auto accident and her married life becomes a stoic, stressful relationship without any communication about the real issues. She is agoraphobic and never leaves her apartment. There is no marital sex. Into this situation blows in Anne's half sister, Iris, from Israel like a blast of air from a Bat Yam or Tel Aviv beach. Yearning for the normalcy she perceives in the more traditional framework of her sister's life, Iris implants herself in their home, providing a breath of fresh air for Anne and a bee sting to Donny's guarded, hangdog reticence. With their cautious subsistence blown asunder, Anne and Donny are catapulted into an awareness of their repressed fears and desires and forced to deconstruct the truth of their projections, neuroses, and increasingly exclusive realities.

The Giraffe / Meschugge

TITLE: The Giraffe
YEAR: 1998
DIR/PROD: Mr. Dani Levy / Stefan Arndt
COUNTRY: Germany / Switzerland
LANGUAGE: German w/ English subtitles
TIME: 107 minutes
SOURCE: Bavaria Film International Bavariafilmplatz 8 D-82031 Geiselgasteig Tel.: 089-64 99 31 79 Fax: 089-64 99 37 20
TEXT: Screened at Berlin Fest 1999. It all begins with a case of arson involving a chocolate factory belonging to an elderly man. However, it's not any old factory that goes up in flames its owner is the Jewish businessman Eliah Goldberg and that means there are political dimensions to the incident. Is the spectre of Nazism rearing it's ugly head in Germany once again? The news of the arson spreads like wildfire over the Atlantic, where there are plenty of people who still remember such events from their own past. One of them is Ruth Fish. Reading about the fire in a column in a New York newspaper, she believes she recognises the face of her missing father in the photograph of Eliah Goldberg and asks her son, David Fish, to accompany her on a trip to find him. Lena Katz waits in vain for her mother to arrive. They are supposed to be celebrating her mother's birthday together. When she doesn't show up, Lena decides to go to her mother's hotel to look for her; but instead, she finds a woman lying badly injured on the floor of the hotel foyer and still no sign of her own mother. While Lena accompanies the injured woman to hospital, her mother is in fact, inexplicably, on her way back to Germany. At the hospital Lena happens to meet David Fish, the son of the injured woman. David's mother dies that same night as a result of her fatal injuries. In spite of the tragic circumstances of their encounter, Lena and David both sense that their meeting was, somehow, no coincidence. With the aid of Kaminski, a lawyer who has definitely seen better days, David sets about getting to the bottom of the cause of his mother's death. David is convinced it was no accident; following his initial misgivings, Kaminski also begins to develop a genuine interest in the case. Together they make the peculiar discovery that, not only did David's mother share a birthday with Lena's mother; David's mother left David a message which, due to pressure of work, he never followed. The message was that he should accompany her on her birthday to a meeting with a girlfriend from the old days . . .

Susei Yam / Sea Horses

TITLE: Sea Horses
YEAR: 1998
DIR/PROD: Nir Bergman
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew
TIME: 17 minutes
SOURCE: The Sam Spiegel Film & Television School 4 Yad-Harutzim St P.O. Box 10636 IL-Jerusalem 91103 Tel.: 972 2-673 19 50 Fax: 972 2-673 19 49
TEXT: Screened at Berlin Film Fest 1999 - Childrens Film Market, at The NY Israel Film Fest and the SF Jewish FF, 1999. This is 30 year old Nir Bergman's graduation film (he is from Ein Hod). Daredevil Noam tries to perform a dangerous balancing act on the balustrade of the balcony, a sort of contest between him and the sidewalk and traffic below . . . If he wins, his father will come back. However, when his mother comes home that evening she tells the Noam and his 2 sisters that they are to move away without their father. A story of divorce and children, risk, and the looming nuclear power plant in the distance.

Striptease

TITLE: Striptease
YEAR: 1998
DIR/PROD: Amnon Kotler
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew
TIME: 17 minutes
SOURCE: The Sam Spiegel Film & Television School 4 Yad-Harutzim St P.O. Box 10636 IL-Jerusalem 91103 Tel.: 2-673 19 50 Fax: 2-673 19 49
TEXT: Screened at Berlin Film Fest 1999 - Childrens Film Market . This is Amnon's, 28, graduation film. Guy (Offer Seker) is in a fix. Older, pipe smoking, Tzahi (Lavi Zitner) wants a photograph of Guy's mother, a famous actress, whom he finds really sexy. Heavily pressurised to come up with something, Guy decides to find his own way of solving the problem.

The Last Days

TITLE: The Last Days
YEAR: 1998
DIR/PROD: James Moll / June Beallor, Ken Lipper, and the Spielberg Survivors of the Shoah VHF
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 90
SOURCE: Spielberg Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation
TEXT: This is the third documentary from the Spielberg Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation (Survivors of the Shoah, The Lost Children of Berlin). It was nominated for an Oscar in February 1999. The Last Days focuses on the five Hungarian Jewish survivors of the Shoah and their breathtaking experiences. In May 1944, the Nazi's deported over 500,000 Hungarian Jews to their deaths in just 12 weeks. At the end of the war 75% of Hungary's 825,000 Jews were dead. On average, 100 Hungarian Jews were killed per hour, 24 hours a day in the last 9 months of the war. The five survivors interviewed are U.S. Congressman Tom Lantos (D-California), who was placed in a labor camp by the Nazis; Bill Basch, who is now a businessman with several children; Irene (Ziegelstein) Zisblatt, now a grandmother; Renee Firestone, a teacher; and Alice Lok Cahana, who uses painting to express her experiences. They tell there stories calmly and directly, and only break down when they return to their hometowns.

Simon Magus

TITLE: Simon Magus
YEAR: 1998
DIR/PROD: ben Hopkins
COUNTRY: UK
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 115 minutes
SOURCE: In the USA: IDP 1133 Broadway-Suite 926 New York, NY 10010. 212-367-9435 Fax: 212-367-0853. In The UK: G2 Films, 10 Stephen Mews, GB-London W1P 1PP, Tel.: 171-333 88 77 Fax: 171-333 88 78
TEXT: This is Ben Hopkins', age 30, first feature film. It stars Noah Taylor (Shine). It was screened at the Berlin International Film Festival in Feb 1999. It hits USA screens in March 2001 and The Sundance Channel in January 2002. By the end of the nineteenth century, progress has even come to a remote village in Silesia. Travelers don't stop by the place anymore since the railway track was laid past the settlement (shtetl). The coming and the passing of the railway has meant that incomes have dropped, as have the number of inhabitants. More calamities afflict the community when the crops fail and the milk literally turns sour, and so the villagers begin to look for a scapegoat for their malaise. They find one in the shape of Simon Magus, the village 'outsider', the village idiot who has a sweet drash at his Bar Mitzvah, but as an adult has gone mad. Simon, whose appearance resembles more of a scarecrow than a man, lives in a crooked hut on a hill on the other side of the settlement. He earns a living emptying the sewers, existing on a diet of dry bread and the occasional herring or pickled onion given to him by the wife of the Rabbi. Each day, the concerned Rabbi watches his congregation dwindle as more and more villagers are obliged to leave their houses in search of a better life elsewhere. Those that decide to stay regard Simon with a mixture of cautious respect and derision. Be that as it may, at least Simon knows how to use his devilish masks and magic tricks to entertain the children. (but they throw rocks at him) At the same time, however, Simon does indeed find himself pursued by the devil and seduced to undertake all kinds of evil doings which only serve to increase his isolation. He is made to sit with the women in shul, since he is a distraction, not counted in the minyan, and makes up his own prayers. Dovid, a good-looking but poor Jew proposes marriage to the beautiful widow Leah. She rejects him, telling him that he is too young for her, whereupon Dovid devises a plan by which means he hopes not only to gain her affection but also rebuild the village economy. Furnished with official papers, Dovid pays a visit to a neighboring landowner, the Count, an eccentric poet who has just published his first anthology of poetry. Dovid makes him a business proposition: the founding of a railway station with a market on his property which would attract new settlers and revive both the Jewish community and village fortunes. Unfortunately, Maximilian Hase, a Catholic wealthy aristocrat, has had precisely the same idea except that he has considerably more money. Mr. Hase has nothing but contempt for the Jewish villagers; it is not long before he finds out that the embittered Simon Magus is prepared to undertake anything in exchange for peace for his weary soul and something better than dry bread and herring, like a chicken. The irony is that the railroad they so desire will be used by the Nazi's in 50 years to exterminate the Jewish community. And the crazed Simon knows this. When he becomes an apostate (Simon Magus was a Samaritan and tried to buy his way in to becoming a 13th disciple of Jesus but was rejected. Magus is always beaten by Christian magic), he shouts to the shtetl that the train will carry the Jews to hell. It is a demon of eerie smoke and hell. The don't understand how true his words will be in the future. It is at the community Passover, when Simon is finally able to sing the proper prayers (Shomer Israel, god shall guard the community of Israel and find redemption), and make tshuva. Can he use his magic finally to foil Mr Hase's plot to pin a blood libel on the Jews? Can there be harmony? NOTE TO FILE: The Simon Magus character is found in early Christian literature and is a hapless magician out to foil pagan trickery. See also "The Nine Lives of Thomas Katz" The cinematography reminds u of Rembrandt painting. See also, Once Upon A Time in the West.

PLEASURES OF URBAN DECAY

TITLE: PLEASURES OF URBAN DECAY
YEAR: 1999
DIR/PROD: Sam Ball
COUNTRY: Canada/USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 18 minutes in 16mm
SOURCE: Romalis Productions, 162 DeGrassi Street Toronto ON M4M 2K7 Canada Tel: 416.406.3450 Fax: 416.406.2891 Iromalis@imax.com
TEXT: A documentary on the cartoonist, Ben Katchor, famed for his cartoons that appear in The Forward. Katchor's Yiddish-inflected voice guides us through a vast and shadowy landscape of old skyscrapers, neglected warehouses and all-night cafeterias. PLEASURES OF URBAN DECAY peers behind the city's facades and through its cracks, turning New York's everyday trappings into urban poetry. As stated, it will premiere at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival in July 1999.
Note to file: William Teitler and Chris Van Allsburg optioned the film rights to Katchor's comic-strip, "Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer." That project is in development.
See more below:

Urban Doodles

TITLE: Urban Doodles
YEAR: 1996
DIR/PROD: George Kuchar
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 16 minutes in video
SOURCE: George Kuchar, SF Art Institute, Film and Video Department, San Francisco, CA 94144 Tel: 415.771.7020 Fax: 415.749.4590
TEXT: Legendary San Francisco filmmaker Geroge Kuchar's low budget video pays homage to Ben Katchor, the cartoonist. A visit with Katchor in his Manhattan studio is juxtaposed with an irreverant excursion through a comic art exhibit in Oakland California.

Carfare City

TITLE: Carfare City
YEAR: 1996
DIR/PROD: Ben Katchor
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 40 minutes
SOURCE: contact www.sfjff.org
TEXT: A color slide performance, performed at the San Francisco Jewish Fil Festival, July 1999. In this slide-show performance, the artist looks at the mysterious processes incolced in navigating the streets of a city. It is a presentation of Katchor's utopian plan.

Barbie Nation: An Unauthorized Tour

TITLE: Barbie Nation: An Unauthorized Tour
YEAR: 1997
DIR/PROD: Susan Stern
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 60
SOURCE: Susan Stern, San Francisco
TEXT: The story of the Barbie doll, the ultimate curvy blond woman, and its influence on American female baby boomers and their children, and feminism. Is Barbie an unattainable level of beauty? Does it cause false hopes and poor self-image on young girls? Barbie was created in 1959 by a Jewish woman, Ruth Handler, who with her husband, Elliot, created the Mattel Company, the largest toy manufacturer in the world. Ruth was the driving force. Barbie was based on the German Lizzie doll, which was a sexy doll for adults. Handler was raised as one of ten children in Denver in a Yiddish speaking household. Please note that Handler's background or religion are not mentioned in this film.

THE DEVIL'S ARITHMETIC

TITLE: THE DEVIL'S ARITHMETIC
YEAR: 1999
DIR/PROD: Donna Deitch / Dustin Hoffman (Exec), Jay Cohen, Murray Schisgal, etc (Prod)
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 110 minutes
SOURCE: Showtime
TEXT: Premiered at The Santa Barbara Film Fest, March 13, 1999. Haunting images and inspired performances tell the gripping and heartfelt story of a girl who learns a most important lesson about remembering the past -- and the future. Hannah is a self-absorbed Long Island teenager who feels more kinship with her friends than her Jewish family. At her Aunt Eva's home for the Seder, she listens only distractedly to the spiritual readings and Holocaust stories she's heard so often. When she opens the door for the prophet Elijah's arrival, an important Seder tradition, Hannah finds herself swept into the very time and place she's heard about but never felt connected to: 1941's German-occupied Poland, in the village of her family, where happiness soon turns to haunting tragedy. Hannah's surreal journey forever changes her feelings about the powerful links between the past and the future. The director, Donna Deitch is known for her work on NYPD Blue and the feature documentary Angel On My Shoulder. Based on a novel for teens of the same name by Jane Yolen (1988)

Photographer

TITLE: Photographer
YEAR: 1998
DIR/PROD: Dariusz Jablonski / Wolfgang Katzke
COUNTRY: Poland / Germany
LANGUAGE: English subtitles
TIME: 76 minutes
SOURCE: Seventh Art Releasing in the USA. Seventh Art Releasing 7551 Sunset Blvd., Suite 104 Los Angeles, CA 90046 TEL: (323) 845-1455 FAX: (323) 845-4717 seventhart@7thart.com http://www.7thart.com
Or Apple Film Production, Ul. Niedzwiedzia 29B 02-737, Warsaw, Poland Tel/Fax 48 22 853 72 65
TEXT: An incredible discovery of hundreds of unknown photographs forms the basis for this unique exploration of one of World War II's darkest chapters. This extraordinary cache of snapshots was found in 1987 in a Viennese used book store, and proved to have a notorious history. In the small Jewish district in the city of Lodz - the Lodz Ghetto - the chief Nazi accountant, Walter Genewein, used a confiscated camera to document on film the "productivity" of slave Jewish laborers imprisoned under abominable conditions. Here, these images depict a truth oblivious to the photographer: the enormity of human suffering experienced by the Jews, forced to manufacture goods for the Third Reich. With narration by an elderly survivor of the Lodz Ghetto and excerpts from Nazi documents, the film presents a stark dichotomy between the misery of the laborers and the shocking callousness of the Nazis. Photographer creates an indelible impression in the mind and the soul. Winner, UPRO Jons Ivens Award, International Documentary Film Festival, Amsterdam. Dariusz Jablonski is a director and producer of documentary films based in Lodz.

Four Men Entered The Grove

TITLE: Four Men Entered The Grove
YEAR: 1998
DIR/PROD: Avigeil Shperber
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w/ English subtitles
TIME: 14 minutes
SOURCE: Ma'ale School of Cinema, Jerusalem
TEXT: The title of this student experimental film is taken from the Talmudic story of the four Torah scholars that were privileged to enter into the "Pardes", the orange grove, or was it something else? Just as a background to understanding this film, let me note that Rabbi Elisha ben Avuya (Achar), Rabbi Akiva, Rabbi Ben Zoma, and Rabbi Ben Azai entered the garden/grove. This occured prior to the destruction of the Second Temple. Only Rabbi Akiva came back intact, the other three suffered some sort of injury. Ben Azzai peeked and died. Concerning him Scripture says: "Precious in the eyes of he Lord is the death of His loyal ones" (Ps. 16.15). Ben Zoma peeked and was smitten. Concerning him Scripture says: "If you have found honey, eat only your fill lest you become filled with it and vomit" (Prov. 25:16). Akher peeked and cut down the shoots. Concerning him Scripture says: "Do not let your mouth bring your flesh to sin, and do not say before the angel that it is an error; why should God become angry at your voice, and ruin your handiwork" (Eccl. 5:5). Achar, when he learned that even if he lived an upright life would NOT get a reward after death, stopped pursuing the upright life and became a heretic (since he would get no reward). As for Akiva, who came out unscathed, is that commendable? Is it beneficial to go through an experience and not be changed by it? OKAY NOW FOR THE FILM: We find four friends at a pub at a table listening to karaoke. The excellent camera work interplays their conversations with the dvar torah being given on a tv set on the story of the four rabbi's. We follow these friends as they go to a film, and their lives intersect with others, including a homeless man, ambulance attendant, newlywed couple, and pizza delivery man. I guess it is up to you to decide how the events relate to the story. Who is Akiva?

Purim

TITLE: Purim
YEAR: 1998
DIR/PROD: Gilad Goldschmidt
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w/ English ST
TIME: 26 minutes
SOURCE: Ma'ale School of Cinema, Jerusalem
TEXT: Three friends (two men and a woman) all religious in the early twenties face the differences in their relationship at purim. Student film.

Bride's Wind

TITLE: Bride's Wind
YEAR: 1998
DIR/PROD: Or Menachem
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w/ English ST
TIME: 14 minutes
SOURCE: Ma'ale School of Cinema, Jerusalem
TEXT: A kibbutznik woman is getting married and looks forward to a perfect wedding, but then she hears a weather report that a strong wind is coming and it may disrupt the outdoor ceremony. A student film. Photography by Avigeil Shperber.

Ido

TITLE: Ido
YEAR: 1998
DIR/PROD: Gilad Goldschmidt
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w/ English ST
TIME: 29 minutes
SOURCE: Ma'ale School of Cinema, Jerusalem
TEXT: A documentary about Ido, a secular, materialistic (so, he likes shopping) teenager who is a successful rock musician in Israel, who wrote all the songs on his band's premiere CD, who changes his life, becomes religious, and moves away from home to study Torah all day. Includes extremely candid interviews with Ido, his friends from his former life (the band), his very secular parents, his estranged brother. And then comes the shidduch...

Keeping The Faith

TITLE: Keeping The Faith
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: Ed Norton / Howard Hawk Koch Jr and Stuart Blumberg
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 90
SOURCE: Touchstone Distribution and Spyglass Entertainment
TEXT: Ed Norton directs and stars in this film in which he plays a priest and Ben Stiller plays a rabbi. Both have been friends since childhood. They were a trio with a young girl, until she moved away when they were age 12. Now she returns, and they both love her (Jenna Elfman). But the priest is celibate, and the rabbi is not about to be intermarried to a non-Jewish woman. And such are the things of which romantic comedies are made. Interiors were shot at the Church of the Acension at Broadway and 107th Street, and at Congregation Bnai Jeshurun on West 88th Street in New York City. Rabbi Hillel Norry, 34, of Congregation Shaare Zedek (NYC) served as an advisor. One piece of advice he gave was telling Ben Stiller that he could not lay tefillin while just wearing his boxers. Ben, Ben, Ben... what were you thinking? Beefcake and tefillin? NOTE TO FILE: The premise is similar to the Bulgarian film, "After The End of The World" in which the rabbi, priest and mullah all love the same woman in the town of Ploviv. Stuart Blumberg, the author of the screenplay and producer, grew up in Cleveland in a Conservative Jewish synagogue, and attended a Jewish day school to age 10. He met actor director Ed Norton at Yale, and the lived together for a few years after college. While he has interdated, at the time of the film's release he was dating a Jewish woman. While in LA he was a member of a Conservative synagogue, and now a resident of NYC he is leaning towards BJ, the site at which the film was shot.





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