Jewish Film Archive Online
Main Page is www.Jewishfilm.com



From Kristallnacht to Crystal Day. A Synagogue in Wroclaw Glows Again.

TITLE: From Kristallnacht to Crystal Day. A Synagogue in Wroclaw Glows Again.
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Ellen Friedland and Curt Fissel
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 60
SOURCE: directors
TEXT: The directors were married in the Pod Bialym Bocianem (Under the white stork) syngaogue in Wroclaw Poland in July 2000 (Wroclaw was Breslau in Eastern Germany before the War). Thye were the first couple to be married there in 36 years. They met while on business trips (cameraman and journalist) to Poland. (Curt Fissel discovered that his name was Fischer and his family was Jewish). The film focuses on the restoration of the synagogue, which although damaged in 1938 during kristallnacht, used as a stable during WWII, wrenched from the Jewish community in 1974 by the Polish government, and returned to the Jewish community in 1996 after a court case. It was rededicated on November 8, 1998 (60 yrs after Kristallnacht)

Brownsville Black and White

TITLE: Brownsville Black and White
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD:Richard Broadman / Lourann Black and Wendell Pritchett
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 83 minutes on BETA
SOURCE: contact producers at Laurann Black (producer) 144 Moody Street, Bldg. 18 Waltham, MA 02453. Ph: (781) 893-3178 E-mail: elypso@hotmail.com
TEXT: The story of the existence or lack of existence of the Black-Jewish alliance in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Brownsville over a period of sixty years. From the civil rights movement to the racial conflict that signaled the alliance's decline. School control fight. As told through the personal histories of those who lived in Brownsville. This is a stirring, unsentimental examination of group cooperation, social conflict, urban change and more than 60 years of Black/Jewish relations in the working-class Brooklyn community of Brownsville. The film begins by describing how a group of poor Jewish and African-American teenagers banded together to form the Brownsville Boys Club in order to to solve a simple problem: the lack of available space in order to play ball. The club fielded integrated sports teams (years before Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers) and organized even more controversial social "mixers." The second part of the film sheds new light on the struggle over control of Brownsville's public schools, which culminated in the famous 1968 stand-off between minority residents and the predominantly Jewish United Federation of Teachers. Finally, the film examines the disintegration of Brownsville following a disastrous policy of urban renewal. BROWNSVILLE, the last work of renowned populist filmmaker, Richard Broadman (1947-2000), features poignant personal testimony, painstakingly researched archival images and striking contemporary footage. The humane guiding spirit of its director makes it a rare treat. Executive producer Laurann Black and a talented team of Broadman's former students brought this film to completion following his untimely death. Also Shown at NY Jewish film fest January 2002

Living for Tomorrow: Untold Stories by the Pioneering Women of Israel

TITLE: Living for Tomorrow: Untold Stories by the Pioneering Women of Israel
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Lilach Dekel and Gary Cohen
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME:
SOURCE: producers
TEXT: Interviews and the lives of Israeli women, now in the eighties and nineties, who pioneered the Kibbutz movement. Dekel journeys across Israel to intimately interview these women, and discusses her own life as an Israeli woman residing in New York City.

The Papp Project

TITLE: The Papp Project
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Tracie Holder and Karen Thorsen
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME:
SOURCE: producers
TEXT: An exploration, in six acts, of Jewish cultural identity, assimilation, and American culture, using the life of the late theater director of producer Joseph Papp (The Public Theater).

The Mayor of the West Side

TITLE: The Mayor of the West Side
YEAR: 2003
DIR/PROD: Judd Ehrlich
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: In progress
SOURCE: Judd Ehrlich Brooklyn Film Networks, 388 Seventh Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215 (718)832-3052
TEXT: Mark Puddington, known on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, as the "Mayor", is a Jewish teenager with multiple disabilities. Everyone knows him. As he walks down the street with his caregivers, he shakes people's hands and is affectionate. It is infectious. People communicate with him even though he has a very limited vocabulary, he can speak just a few words. This film documents Mark's three year process of becoming a Bar Mitzvah at Manhattan Congregation Bnai Jeshurun, and the efforts of his family and community to help him celebrate with dignity. Includes a seder scene also. The Bar Mitzvah, held on Shabbat, is not filmed. Many surprises pop up in the extremely candid film. The interviews with Puddington’s older brother are quite honest. Mark’s mother’s use of “facilitated communication” is sure to cause chatting among audience members. Her selection of Shabbat parshat for Mark’s bar mitzvah will cause debate as well. Note to file: I was at the Bar Mitzvah service the Shabbat, and I can tell you it was one that will never be forgotten by anyone in attendance.

The Lori Berenson Story

TITLE: The Lori berenson Story
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Suzie Baer
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME:
SOURCE:
TEXT: A documentary about a young woman from New York City, the daughter of NYC professors, who was arrested and imprisoned in Peru, accused of aiding the Tupac Amaru Revoutionary Movement and their plan to attack the Peruvian federal Congress. She was sentenced to a life term in the infamous Yanamayo Prison. (in 2001 a retrial began).

My Friend Paul

TITLE: My Friend Paul
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: Jonathan Berman
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME:
SOURCE:
TEXT: a feature length documentary film traces the life of two childhood suburban (Long Island) friends. Paul became a bank robber. Jonathan became a filmmaker. Paul escapes from his halfway house while filming. A story of life on the edge, mental illness, and friendship.

Chosen Again

TITLE: Chosen Again
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Steven Manin
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME:
SOURCE:
TEXT: This project chronicles the experience of a Jewish man confronted by the beliefs of the Southern Baptist Convention and their attempt to convert him.

An Ocean Apart (formerly The Project)

TITLE: An Ocean Apart
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Gideon Shmorak
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME:
SOURCE:
TEXT: One hour documentary which studies the effects of intricate race relations on young adolescents. The narrative follows a group of 50 African American, Jewish American, Israeli, and Palestinian-Arab high school students, who were brought together in an experimental year long seminar, conceived to help youths from groups in conflict bridge racial gaps and break stereotypes.

Keeping The Faith

TITLE: Keeping The Faith
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Ira Wohl
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME:
SOURCE:
TEXT: a video documentary of a small group of Jewish men and women of all ages from various parts of the USA to participate in Greenwood in the ten day period of High Holy Day services.

G.I. Holocaust

TITLE: G.I. Holocaust
YEAR: 2002
DIR/PROD: Charles Guggenheim / WNET TV Channel 13 (NYC)
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: work in progress
SOURCE: still in development
TEXT: The filmmaker, Mr. Charles Guggenheim, 77, was a soldier during WWII in the US 106th Infantry division. In September 1944, is unit shipped out, but Guggenheim was left in the USA with an infection. During the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944, two regiments of the 106th were lost. Thousands of soldiers were captured, and the Jewish soldiers in the Allied forces were separated for "special" treatment by the Gestapo and Wehrmacht. The Jewish soldiers, and their American Christian friends, were sent to labor camps where they were expected to work til they died from malnourishment, Gangrene, disease, and exposure. Of the 2000 prisoners send to Stalag 9A at Bad Orb, 50 miles North of Frankfurt, 350 were sent to Berga because they were Jews, looked like Jews, or tried to protect their Jewish friends or troops. Walter Shapiro, for example, now a retired physician in Florida, was a captured medic, a non combatant. But with a surname of Shapiro, he was sent to a labor camp. Joseph Littel recalls that his commander, Hans Kasten, tried to protect his Jewish soldiers, but was beaten by the SS; the SS threatened to kill ten soldiers every hour unless Jews stepped forward. Kasten was sent to Berga with his troops in boxcars. At least 35 died from disease, and another 50 died during a forced death march. They were liberated on April 22, 1945 by the American 11th Armored Division. Guggenheim has interviewed forty American survivors of the Berga labor camp. (Guggenheim is director of A Time for Justice; and JFK Remembered, as well as a winner and nominee of around seven Oscars) Completion date not yet known.
Note To File.... This has nothing to do with the film, but just to remind myself, My father was in the Infantry, c395 of the 99th Infantry. During the Battle of the Bulge, his platoon was told to prepare for capture. He buried his dogtags (which noted him a H for Hebrew) and a hebrew prayer. They were not captured but he never found his dogtags or the prayer again since they moved out and were in action. Later in the war, his platoon liberated some US POW's, where he met a Jewish POW he told him that he was given the worst of the duties to perform since he was a Jew. But he also met another Jewish POW who was used by the Wehrmacht as the person to translate their orders to the other POW's, although they did it surreptitiously, since they would not speak directly to a Jew.

Finbar Lebowitz

TITLE: Finbar Lebowitz
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: Rona Mark / Jennifer Smith
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 25 minutes in 35mm
SOURCE: rnm5@columbia.edu
TEXT: Licensed to HBO Cinemax. Represented by First Artists NY. Columbia University Film School project. Seen at Palm Beach Jewish Film Festival, Pittsburgh Israeli Jewish Film Festival, Toronto Jewish Film Festival, Galway Film Fleagh, and Irish Reels Film Festival. In order to impress Leah, the cute Jweish girl from New York who is helping out in her Uncle's bookstore in Dublin, Finbar decides to convert to Judaism to win her hand. The working class Irishman discovers there is more to Judaism than a prayer shawl and gefilte fish. 1999/2000.

THEY CAME FOR GOOD: A HISTORY OF JEWS IN THE USA PARTS 1 and 2

TITLE: THEY CAME FOR GOOD: A HISTORY OF JEWS IN AMERICA
YEAR: 2001 and 1997
DIR/PROD: Amram Nowak and Manya Starr / Connecticut Public TV
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 2 one hour episodes on video
SOURCE: contact Connecticut Public TV to buy the videos. 1-800- 688-3482 $30
TEXT: Like the title says, a history of Jews in colonial United States and 19th Century United States. And as the title relates, Jews are good, are patriots, and contributed to the growth of the country. Hurray. But seriously, it is a very good history series, and I found it very very informative and interesting. Part 2 includes the fascinating story of the Seligman's, Levi Strauss, and has a hilarious scene in which Stephen Wise founded Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, held a convocation for rabbi's from around the country, and served little neck clams as the first course. Thus the Conservative movement was formed as a breakaway. Wise refused to apologize, and called the other rabbi's "kitchen Judaism" practitioners. Part 2 includes the story of Mr. Bondi who supported John Brown with Theodore Wiener (both Yiddish speakers), and led a militia against slavery and the Border Ruffians in the Kansas Territory. Also discusses the Jewish Confederates (David de Leon was Surgeon General, Judah Benjamin was a Confederate cabinet member and his face was on $2 bill (if it makes you feel better, he distanced himself from Judaism but never converted; he escaped to England and became a successful lawyer after he was labeled a Judas after Lincoln/Christ's assasination))... Nice trumpet playing whenever they discuss a Sephardic American.

Interviews from the Underground: Eyewitness accounts of Russia's Jewish partisan resistance during WWII

TITLE: > Interviews from the Underground: Eyewitness accounts of Russia's Jewish partisan resistance during WWII
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: Phillip Alloy
COUNTRY: Belarus/USA
LANGUAGE: Russian with English overdub
TIME: 20 minutes
SOURCE: www.interviewsfromtheunderground.com
TEXT: It is commonly believed the Jewish population of Europe did little to resist the Nazi genocide during World War II. However, in the western Russian city of Minsk (now capital of Belarus) a Jewish ghetto underground and partisan resistance movement emerged to fight against the three-year German occupation. Thousands of Jews escaped certain death in the ghetto to join Jewish partisan groups operating in the forests surrounding the Minsk. The organization, size and length of Minsk's Jewish resistance is unique in the annals of World War II history. In Minsk in 1999, Phillip Alloy filmed 15 men and women survivors of the Jewish resistance for their experiences with the partisans. Two of those interviews are excerpted for this film short. The remaining interviews are forming the foundation of a feature length documentary Mr. Alloy is producing on Minsk's World War II Jewish resistance.

Matrilineal

TITLE: Matrilineal
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Caterina Klusemann
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 27 minutes in Digital Video and 16mm
SOURCE: CK194@CoLumbia.edu or 011-49-30-4880-6067 (berlin)
TEXT: Student film (Columbia). Awarded the Zuruckgeben, Stiftung fur Judische Frauen in Kunst und Wissenschaft. Received the New Line outstanding filmmaking award. DOCUMENTARY. Four women trying to free themselves of a secret that has lasted 50 years.
The director writes: Matrilineal is the story of my grandmother, mother, sister, and me. After my father's death the four of us lived tightly bound in our villa in Tuscany My sister and I had Italian friends, and played Italian games. But within their home, a foreign world reigned. Spanish, Polish and German were spoken. And my grandmother cooked the strangest dishes, that she called borsht and kasha, and in the mornings, she's even eaten herring with raw onions. I, raised on pasta, could not understand. There was no other family. My mother was like a helpless child, bound inextricably to my ice-hard and iron-strong grandmother. I studied my other and my grandmother's Venezuelan passports and wondered what it meant that my mother was born in Lvov, Poland in 1940. Why was my grandmother's name Antonia Toporowska, when she called herself Hochmann? Why were the names on the documents and papers never twice written the same way? I was afraid to ask and afraid of the answers I would get and never dared to speak if the camera was not protecting my heart. Thus was the material for this film gathered. The camera follows my quest and my fears, jerks back from my grandmother's rage and looks away from my mother's pain, and yet it is always looking back, determined to ask for answers, to find the truth of the past.
The film was shot over the past four years. Her hard and strong grandmother is shown as the keeper of the secrets. She is the beautiful center of the family's lives. The film challenges the notion that trauma must be inherited through the generations and show hoe, when the silence is finally broken, a family is brought together.
Caterina currently resides in Berlin.

Waiting for the Messiah / Esperado al mesias

TITLE: Waiting for the Messiah / Esperado al mesias
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: Daniel Burman
COUNTRY: ARGENTINA
LANGUAGE: Spanish with English ST
TIME: 60
SOURCE: Dorothy Grosskraumbach /Adriana Chiesa Enterprises / Via Barnaba Oriani, 24A / 00197 Roma / ITALY phone: 39 06 8086052 fax: 39 06 80687855
TEXT: Ariel Goldstein is a twenty something, living at home in the old Jewish neighborhood in Buenos Aries (El Once). His mother has passed away, and his father has lost the families saving when a bank collapses. Ariel is expecting to marry his girlfriend, Estela. But then he meets Laura, a sexy lesbian at his new job. Daniel Burman emerges as one of Argentina's most talented young filmmakers. Like his first feature, A Chrysanthemum Bursts in Cincoesquinas (BJFF 1999), this dynamic, witty, and modern film explores Jewish identity within the broader context of Argentine identity. Can Ariel escape the ordered life and weekly Shabbat dinners and explore the larger urban environment. A parallel story involves a bank clerk (notably played by Enrique Piñeyro) who loses everything but finds comfort in an unexpected place. With a marvelous script and strong performances, Waiting for the Messiah is an enchanting urban fable. (Mature Content) . Seen at Walter Reade in NYC/Lincoln Center (filmlinc.com) in Argentina Fest and at the Boston Jewish Film Festival, November 2001 BJFF.ORG

Adio Kerida / Goodbye Dear Love: A Cuban Sephardic Journey

TITLE: Adio Kerida / Goodbye Dear Love: A Cuban Sephardic Journey
YEAR: 2001, released 2002
DIR/PROD: Ruth Behar
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: Spanish and English
TIME: 60
SOURCE: Marta Sanchez Women Make Movies 462 Broadway, Suite 500 New York, NY 10013 Phone: 212-925-0606 x320 Fax: 212-925-2052 msanchez@wmm.com http://www.wmm.com/ http://www.ruthbehar.com/ak_nav.html
TEXT: A video documentary based on the life stories of Sephardic Cuban Jews residing in Miami, Cuba, and New York. You can contact Professor Behar at University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), where she teaches in the Anthropolgy Department and is a MacArthur Fellow. Director Ruth Behar addresses her goodbyes to the country she left as a child—Cuba. The beautiful Sephardic song "Adio Kerida", about a broken-hearted lover, haunts this lyrical documentary that explores the meaning of home in an age of travel and homesickness. The director, a distinguished anthropologist who has written extensively about the experience of crossing cultural boundaries, goes in search of the Sephardic Jews remaining in Cuba and the Jewish Cubans ("Jubans") living in the United States. Along the way she encounters an Afro-Cuban boy of Jewish descent who dreams of becoming a drummer in Israel, a pair of storekeepers in Miami who sell Turkish good luck charms, and her own father in New York, who preserves Sephardic mementos but refuses to return to Cuba.

Let's Get Frank. The Barney Frank Story

TITLE: Let's Get Frank - Barney Frank Story
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Bart Everly
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 60
SOURCE: contact filmmaker at New School for Social Research in NYC
TEXT: For two years, NY filmmaker Bart Everly followed U.S. Congressman Barney Frank around Washington DC and his Congressional District in Newton, Massachusetts. Includes Frank crafting legislation, speaking caustically against Republicans, working in committee, with is mother, and with his boyfriend, Sergio Pombo. Everly shot 80 hours in his effort to show how Frank's life has affected his political career and the laws he works for. Much of the film is about Frank's attempt to keep his homosexuality a secret. In 1987, Frank, 61, announced to his constituents that he is gay. In 1990, Frank was reprimanded by the Congress for hiring Steve Gobie, a male prostitute who lived in Frank's home. Includes interviews with Cokie Roberts, Red Koppel, Alan Dershowtz, and Ellen DeGeneres.

The Piano

TITLE: The Piano
YEAR: 2002
DIR/PROD: Roman Polanski
COUNTRY: Poland
LANGUAGE: English
TIME:
SOURCE:
TEXT: In development. Unknown storyline at this time. Background is Polanski left the country after communist censors reacted coldly to his 1962 feature debut, ``Knife in the Water,'' which was nominated for an Academy Award for best foreign language film. His latest film, ``The Pianist'' is based on the autobiography of Polish composer Wladyslaw Szpilman, who was one of 400,000 Polish Jews whom the Nazis crowded into the Warsaw Ghetto in 1940. He remained there, in hiding, after the 1943 uprising in which Jews held Nazi troops at bay for weeks. Shortly before the end of World War II, he was discovered by a German officer, who helped shelter him and gave him food. Szpilman died last year. Adrien Brody, who previously appeared in Spike Lee's ``Summer of Sam,'' will play the lead role in the movie, which also is being shot at the Babelsberg film studio outside Berlin. Polanski, the 67-year-old director of ``Rosemary's Baby'' and ``Chinatown,'' also escaped the Nazis as a child hidden by Catholic families in Nazi-occupied Poland. His mother died at the Nazi's Auschwitz death camp.

Welcome to Death Row

TITLE: Welcome to Death Row
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Leigh Savidge / Savidge and Lyydia Harris
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME:
SOURCE: XenonPictures.com 800-829 1913.
TEXT: Documentary. Not actually a Jewish Film. It all started in Compton. Death Row Records exploded onto the music scene in 1993 and quickly came to dominate a music genre that the media termed as gangsta rap. Death Row made superstars of Dr Dre, Tupac Shakur, and Snoop Doggy Dogg, and released six consecutive multiplatinum albums (where each multiplatinum album can mean around $30 million in wholesale revenue). But in 1996, its business practices (some say they were threatening and violent), their controversial lyrics and artists, and allegations of drug money based funding, made it the target of the FBI, as well as political entrepreneurs, such as William Bennett, C. Delores Tucker, and Joseph Lieberman. With the shooting of Tupac Shakur, first in New York and then in Las Vegas, the imprisonment of Suge Knight, the label's founder, Death Row Records was disabled. This tells the story of betrayal and loyalty among mmen, as well as the rise and fall of Death Row Records.

The Office Party

TITLE: The Office Party
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Chiara Edmands
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 15
SOURCE: chiara_anderson@hotmail.com 212 226 4094 Viking Sister Productions Inc, 35 White Street, #4, NY, NY 10013
TEXT: With Jon Stewart, Carol Kane, Ralph Macchio, Clea Lewis, and Tate Donovan. The morning after, everyone is wondering exactly what went on during last evening's office party. And by the way, Where is Don?

Laughter on the 23rd Floor

TITLE: Niel Simon's Laughter on the 23rd Floor
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: Richard benjamin
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 102
SOURCE: Showtime Original productions
TEXT: Nathan Lane, Richard Portnow, Dan Castellaneta, Mackenzie Astin, Zach Grenier, Mark Linn-Baker, Peri Gilpin Vincent, Saul Rubinek. Neil Simon's formative years in New York as a television comedy writer. The film recreates the golden age of television when comedy was king and Simon was a rookie writer on "YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS" starring Sid Caesar. We are offered a candid look behind the scenes into the eclectic, volatile writer's den on the 23rd floor, where we are introduced to the larger than life comedian, Max Prince. A tremendously talented, sharp-witted and self-destructive television personality, Max Prince is desperately to trying maintain his slipping sanity, while he holds together his career and the integrity of his show against the dull, unimaginative studio heads, the oppressive McCarthy regime and the challenge of keeping his home life intact. Benjamin is in fine form doing what he does best - comedy. At the same time, Simon's story provides us with a real sense of the frustration and struggle for artistic expression in television of the 50's. Jennifer Stark

Nazareth 2000

TITLE: Nazareth 2000
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: Hany Abu Assad
COUNTRY: Netherlands
LANGUAGE: English Subtitles
TIME: 55 minutes video
SOURCE: seen at the Human Rights Watch Festival. VPRO Television, , POB 11, 1200 YC Hilversum Netherlands marmoo@vpro.nl Tel: 31 35 671 2381
TEXT: Returning to his native city just months before the new millennium, filmmaker Hany Abu-Assad captures the daily, idiosyncratic beats of Nazareth - a city both Christians and Arabs consider sacred. Today, 72 percent of the inhabitants are Muslim, but most of the land is owned by Christian institutions - a situation that causes great tension. The film is set against the riots surrounding a square that both groups lay claim to, and unfolds through the eyes of two cynical, funny and wise gas station attendants. Their comments on the political and social conditions of their city paint a tragic and subtle image of its inhabitants. Screened at Human Rights Watch June 2001 Humorous film. Sadly, the Israeli authorities act like asses during the film. Although many of the Christians and Moslems are antagonistic towards each other, after 3 Nazareth residents were killed by Israelis in 2000, Christians and Moslems put their differences behind themselves and focused their hate towards Israeli Jews and Israel's tax rates.

QUINTESSENCE OF OBLIVION

TITLE: QUINTESSENCE OF OBLIVION
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Najwa Najjar
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: English subtitles
TIME: 45 minutes video
SOURCE: HRW Film Fest, June 2001. Ustura Films. POB 19525. East jerusalem (Israel) ustura@index.com.jo Tel 972 5952 5977
TEXT: Originally conceived as the exploration of the social life of Jerusalem through the history of the Al Hambra Cinema, a well-known movie palace, but five months ago the present Intifada began, and everything changed. In the reality of today's Jerusalem, filmmaker Najwa Najjar was faced with the question of how Palestinians living there in 1948 and 1967 could possibly go to the movies after the wars, after their city was divided. Using oral histories of Jerusalemites both living in the city and in diaspora, archival footage and radio broadcasts interwoven with clips from films once shown at the Al Hambra, Ms. Najjar creates a rich and powerful Palestinian mosaic of their Jerusalem past and present.
Note to file: I walked out of this film. I found it unforcused and poorly conceived, and much of it a diatribe on the evil Zionists

Promises

TITLE: Promises
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: B Z Goldberg and Justine Shapiro
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: English subtitles
TIME: 108 minutes
SOURCE: HRW Film Festival June 2001. The Promises Film Project. 1442-A Walnut Street #476 Berkeley CA 94709 promises@pobox.com see their website at PromisesProject.ORG
TEXT: Nominated for the Academy Award, March 2002. Rather than focusing on current events or "hard news," PROMISES offers a surprisingly fresh window onto the Middle East conflict when filmmaker B.Z. Goldberg returns to his hometown of Jerusalem to see what seven children - both Palestinian and Israeli - think about war, peace and just growing up. Each child provides a dramatic, touching and sometimes hilarious insight into the Middle East conflict and into the experience of growing up in the charged and complex city of Jerusalem. Though they live only 20 minutes apart, these children exist in completely separate worlds; the physical, historical and emotional obstacles between them run deep. PROMISES explores this legacy of distrust and bitterness, but signs of hope emerge when some of the Palestinian and Israeli children dare to cross the checkpoints to meet one another. An energetic and dynamic cinematic experience, PROMISES offers both insiders and outsiders a well-balanced insight into the subtleties of the Middle East conflict. Winner of the Audience Award at the 2001 Rotterdam Film Festival. Winner at over a dozen other film festivals and been screened at nearly all the Jewish film festivals in 2001. Winner Audience Award: Rotterdam, San Francisco, Vancouver, and Sao Paulo film festivals. Winner Best Documentary: Sao Paulo, Hamptons, San Francisco, and Paris film festivals.Broadcast in the USA on PBS as part of the POV Series on Thursday December 13, 2001. Carlos Bolado, co-director and editor; Yoram Millo and Ilan Buchbinder, camera; Stephen Most, consulting writer and researcher; Janet Cole, executive producer; Lucy Kaplan, consulting producer

Writing in The NYT, Julie Salamon (12/13/2001) wrote: A Palestinian boy named Faraj tells a documentary filmmaker about his desire to avenge a friend who threw stones at an Israeli soldier and was killed. But when the filmmaker arranges to have Faraj meet two Israeli twins - who are as sports obsessed as he is - he prepares for the rendezvous as if it's a date. On the telephone he asks them what kind of food they like. Before they arrive, he spritzes himself with cologne. Their meeting is a humanist's dream. The Israeli twins speak of holding their breath in fear whenever they take a bus downtown, half expecting a terrorist bomb. Yet like Faraj they are willing to check out an enemy whose interests are so closely aligned with theirs (track, volleyball). They come to the Palestinian's neighborhood - a refugee camp that resembles a housing project. They agree to speak the neutral language of English, resulting in a conversation that is far more friendly than fluent. They wrestle, play ball, have a meal. But mirroring so many moments of potential rapprochement in Middle East history, this one turns out to be far more heartbreaking than heartwarming. Their connection - captured so emotionally on camera - appears very real but doesn't last. It's doomed by the inherent fickleness of youth but, more pointedly, by the political reality of checkpoints and propaganda.
This moment of confounded possibilities lies at the heart of "Promises," an intensely personal and insightful documentary that looks at the Palestinian-Israeli conflict from the vantage point of seven children living in or near Jerusalem. Part of PBS's "P.O.V." series, which specializes in nonfiction films by independent producers and directors, "Promises" demonstrates the unusual power of thoughtful, subjective filmmaking. This extraordinary enterprise was distilled from 170 hours of filming between 1997 and the summer of 2000; post-Sept. 11 it has acquired an even greater sense of sorrow and frustration.
The film was made by Justine Shapiro, B. Z. Goldberg and Carlos Bolado, but it is Mr. Goldberg whose face becomes familiar in front of the camera. Born in Boston, he grew up just outside Jerusalem and then returned to the United States to study film at New York University. Though he maintains a resolute nonpartisanship, his quiet, thoughtful interviews with the children reveal his own deep - perhaps quixotic - yearning for peace. It's a tribute to his open spirit that all the children, the most dogmatic and the most reasonable, seem to have great affection for him.
He has captured these children as they must really be, much too old in their political thinking but buoyantly childish. On the streets of Jerusalem he interviews a 13-year-old rabbi-in-training named Shlomo, who talks not only about being cursed and punched by Arab boys but also about Jewish and Palestinian adults he knows who have civil relationships. As he speaks, a Palestinian boy about his age comes close and starts belching, not hostilely but teasing. Shlomo, in Orthodox black and white, tries to ignore him but starts giggling. Finally he belches back, and for a moment the universal language of boys prevails.
An angelic-looking Palestinian boy named Mahmoud fiercely denounces Israelis and says he doesn't even want to meet one. This same boy, who urges the filmmakers not to tell his mother that he has sneaked cups of coffee, also says: "I support Hamas and Hezbollah. They kill women and children, but they do it for their country." He seems shocked when Mr. Goldberg tells him that he, Mr. Goldberg, is half-Israeli. Mahmoud is unmoved. "You're half-American," he said. "I'm talking about authentic Jews. Not Americans."
An equally fierce, chubby 10-year-old named Moishe, son of a Jewish settler family, says, "If I could make my own future, all the Arabs would fly away."
The children repeat the rhetoric they're taught by adults, and they reflect the wide range of response to the region's history. Moishe makes the cameraman wait while he searches the Bible for the specific reference that marks Jewish claim on the land. Mahmoud explains that the Koran has marked the spot for Muslims. Others, including the secular Israeli twins and a Palestinian girl, are willing to compromise.
The film's personal focus may assume too much knowledge on the part of viewers, especially since this film would be a valuable teaching guide. The filmmakers supply some history, not going back to ancient Judea but more recently to what Israelis call the 1948 War of Independence and Palestinians call "the catastrophe." A bit more geopolitics would provide useful context.
Still the documentary illustrates through imagery and interviews the uneasy convergence in Jerusalem of history and modernity, Arab and Jew, fanaticism and reasonableness. The camera sweeps by Burger King signs and Hasidic Jews dressed as in the Middle Europe of centuries ago. Palestinian children wear T-shirts that say, "I have a dream," and cars and camels still share the road in places. It records the checkpoints leading into the Palestinian territories, seen by Israelis as necessary safety measures and by Palestinians as insults.

Wisdom does emerge from the mouths of these children, who are anything but innocent. "In war both sides suffer," one of the twins says. "Maybe there's a winner, but what is a winner?"

Notes to File: SPOILERS SPOILERS. Promises will be shown at the Jerusalem Film Festival 2001 in July 2001. It will be broadcast in the USA on PBS-POV in December 2001. It will be released in NYC in March 2002. CBS Sixty Minutes broadcast a story on March 20, 2002 with Bob Simon, in which they visited the kids, now several years older.... The PROMISE is DEAD......
What audiences may find interesting is that some of the Israeli kids are much more interested in meeting a Palestinian kid than they would like to meet a haredi Jewish kid. The filmmakers note that they are missing any Christian kids in the final cut of the film and they are missing any poor Jewish Sephardi girls.

LEBANON DREAM

TITLE: LEBANON DREAM
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: Nurit Kedar
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: English subtitles
TIME: 60 minute video
SOURCE: HRW Film Festival June 2001 Nurit Kedar. Tel Aviv Israel. Telephone 972 3 536 0692
TEXT: Director Nurit Kedar met Samir Farhat (one of those featured in her acclaimed documentary Borders four years ago. Samir is a successful Lebanese merchant who wears many hats (and uniforms) in the dangerous profiteering world between the borders of southern Lebanon and Israel. His life was so compelling that Kedar continued to record him after Borders was done. The result is a fascinating story of a unique businessman who lives his life within the Lebanese chaos and provides a different, human and dramatic look at what Israelis call "The Lebanese Fiasco."

SISTERS IN RESISTANCE

TITLE: SISTERS IN RESISTANCE
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: Maria Wechsler
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: USA
TIME: 60 minute video
SOURCE: For a print of the film, contact Women Make Movies, 462 Broadway, New York, NY 10013 212-925-0606 x360 Email: orders@wmm.com
Human Rights Watch Film Festival, June 2001 Red Triangle Productions 182 Lafayette Street NY NY 10013 Tel 212 625 9624 Email: Maia.ed@mindspring.com
TEXT: SISTERS IN RESISTANCE shares the story of four French women of uncommon courage who, in their teens and twenties, risked their lives to fight the Nazi occupation of their country. Neither Jews nor communists, they were in no danger before they joined the Resistance. They could have remained safe at home. But they chose to resist. Within two years all four were arrested by the Gestapo and deported as political prisoners to the hell of Ravensbrück concentration camp, where they helped one another survive. Today, elderly but still very active, they continue to push forward as social activists and intellectual leaders in their fields. The film captures their amazing lives, and reveals an uncommon, intense bond of friendship that survives to this day.

Kikar Hahalomot / Desperado Square

TITLE: Kikar Hahalomot / Desperado Square
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: Benny Torati
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: English Subtitles
TIME: 90
SOURCE: Opens May 2001 in Jerusalem. Contact the director in Tel Aviv
TEXT: The Israeli version of Cinema Paradiso. Rather than a story about Tel Aviv's Hatikva Quarter's crime rate, it is a story about love and nostalgia. Winner of the Israeli Oscar for Directing (Fall 2000). Set and shot in Tel Aviv's Hatikva Quarter, it is a sentimental film about a movie theater in Tel Aviv that has been closed for many years. The theater owner passed away a year ago and his sons, George and Nissim, decide to reopen the theater for one big gala. Their estranged Uncle Avram (Muhammad Bakri playing a Jewish character!) shows up, and their mother, Seniora, becomes quite agitated. Lo and behold, what film should they show? They select the theater's most popular film, an Indian film about a love triangle, SANGAM. And who has the only print in Israel... Uncle Avram. Seniora is even more agitated now. You get the idea...
Note to file: Melodramatic Indian films were actually very popular in Hatikva. Saturday night was the big night out to see a film. Torati, 45, was a Hatikva Quarter activist and founder of ELLA in the early 1980's, in which artists and performers taught classes to residents..

Hitler's Holocaust

TITLE: Hitler's Holocaust
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Maurice Philip Remy / Guido Knopp
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 6 hours
SOURCE: The History Channel
TEXT: Remy, 39, has created this 6 hour documentary unlike other Holocaust histories, to be broadcast on The History Channel (USA) in June 2001 (shown in Germany on ZDF in November 2000). It is about Germans coming to grips with their past. Remy and his crew interviewed Poles, Jews, Germans, SS men, former German soldiers, and even Hitler's telephone operators. The series takes a historical approach that places Hitler's Final Solution of Jews and others into his overall military strategies and racially based politics. INCLUDES newly found and released film footage shot by the formerly Communist states, footage showing non-SS German soldiers killing Jews, and showing Germans killing 100,000 non Jewish disabled people in 1939 (this method was then used at Auschwitz against Jews after German officers complained that the other methods of killing Jews was causing mental anguish in some soldiers. Official blurb: A comprehensive look at the origins of the Holocaust from a German perspective and the motives and methods behind the madness. Eyewitness testimony, newly discovered archival footage and historical reenactments shed light on the genesis of the Holocaust, the mentality of the perpetrators and who knew what. Broadcast dates = June 18-21, 2001

The Sweetest Sound

TITLE: The Sweetest Sound
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Alan Berliner
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 60
SOURCE: Alan Berliner 13 Vestry Street 4th Floor New York, NY 10013 phone: 212 226 5213 fax: 212 226 5213 Email: ajberliner@aol.com www.alanberliner.com info@alanberliner.com
TEXT: Filmmaker Alan Berliner explores why he was named Alan, and investigates the parentage of the surname Berliner. He invites twelve Alan Berliners to dinner in New York City, all but one of them Jewish. Alan Berliner is a lawyer in Columbus, Ohio. Alan Berliner is a social worker in Seattle, Washington. Alan Berliner is a celebrity photographer in Los Angeles, California. Tired of being mistaken for these people and anyone else who might share his name, Alan Berliner, the filmmaker from New York -- not to be confused with Belgian filmmaker Alain Berliner -- decides to rid himself of the dreaded Same Name Syndrome. His solution: invite all the Alan Berliners in the world over to his house for dinner. With the intimacy and humor of a personal essay, Berliner dives headfirst inside the American name pool in search of the treasures and dangers hidden inside his own name. A film that starts out in search of identity slowly transforms into a meditation on mortality. Along the way, he confronts his parents about the origins of his name, his sister about the names she gave her children and visits the Jim Smith Society, the National Linda Convention, the streets of New York, Holocaust name memorials, the Vietnam Memorial and the AIDS Quilt. He also stumbles upon some surprising news about name changes at Ellis Island. In the end Berliner leaves us with a greater sense of the power and magic embedded in a name, and how all of our identities are inescapably shaped by what we call ourselves. A film guaranteed to make you think twice about the who, the why and the where contained in every name, THE SWEETEST SOUND has Berliner's inimitable filmmaking signature written all over it.

TITLE: >
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD:
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE:
TIME:
SOURCE:
TEXT:

Main Page is www.Jewishfilm.com



http://www.jewishfilm.com -- Revised: 1/15/98, 7/5/98, March 2000, July 2000
Copyright © 1996-2000 Jewish Film Archive online website, Larry Mark, webmaster gadol
http://members.aol.com/jewfilm -- Revised: 1/15/98, 7/5/98, March 1999
Copyright © 1996-2000 Jewish Film Archive online website, Larry Mark, webmaster gadol
jewfilm@aol.com

Disclaimer: We provide this data as a service to readers. We are non-commercial. We are not responsible for the results of the use or misuse of the data and/or opinions provided.


MBA Style
Jewish Books Jewish Books