Jewish Film Archive Online
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A.I. Artificial Intelligence

TITLE: A.I. Artificial Intelligence
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Steven Spielberg
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: nearly 3 hours
SOURCE: Dreamworks SKG video
TEXT: SPOILERS BELOW. A collaboration between Steven Spielberg and the late Stanley Kubrick (the Jewish director from The Bronx passed away in 1999 in the UK). Filled with ice, water, and fire. The story of a robot boy in the future who wants to be a real boy. First some history... The story is based on a 1969 short story of about 2000 words, "Supertoys Last All Summer Long" by Brian Aldiss. It is the story of a boy named David and his teddy bear. David struggles to write a love note to his mother. At the end of the story, we learn that David is a robot boy, purchased by his "parents" as they wait to receive permission to conceive a real human child. Stanley Kubrick liked the story and bought the film rights to the story. Kubrick and Aldiss discusses expanded story lines, such as having Manhattan flooded by global warming and melting ice caps, thus reducing resources causing stringent legislation against the conception of children without a license. Kubrick wanted to incorporate the Pinocchio myth into the story. Aldiss objected, and the two men ended their friendship. Kubrick then began to collaborate with Arthur C. Clarke, his co-writer on 2001 A Space Odyssey. Kubrick hired Bob Shaw, an Irish sci fi author, but this collaboration lasted less than two months. In 1990, Kubrick hired Ian Watson, a British sci fi author. Together they worked on the project for 8 months; Watson created Gigolo Joe, plot turns, and words such as mecha and orga. The collaboration ended, and Arthur C. Clarke sent in some ideas, but Kubrick disliked them. In 1995, Kubrick hired the Scottish writer and specialist in fables and myths, Sara Maitland. Their collaboration lasted 6 months. It ended, and Kubrick began work on Eyes Wide Shut. Kubrick died in 1999, and Spielberg picked up the project and Kubricks notes and screenplay. Spielberg worked on the story for about 4 months and also paid Aldiss for an additional idea, that David would realize that he wasn't unique when he.... (I won't tell you, since I don't want to spoil the film)

As for the film: Welcome to a future world, a world partially destroyed by global warming, where the sea levels have risen by over 150 feet water covers islands like Manhattan. Licenses are needed to conceive children, and robots do the work for people. A large robot manufacturer develops a robot child, intended for sale to couples who want but are not allowed to conceive a child. The prototype is David. David is given to a couple as a beta test, their biological son is in a frozen state due to some accident or illness. Once David is brought home and imprinted, he loves his mother. When the biological son returns home, cured, David wants to become a real boy, just like Pinocchio. Unfortunately, real people, orgas, can be mean and evil. They round up orgas in boxcars and execute them in death camps ala bread and circus Roman Coliseums. Take note of the Hebrew outside of the Shangri La motel. Will David become a real boy? Will he find the love of his mother?
As another aside, some of the AI advertisements include a Hebrew word as a credit (next to Amblin's logo). The word is Hochma, or wisdom, which may be translated as intelligence or one of the Sephirot from which all knowledge emanates. I personally would have used the word "Emet" or Truth, which would have reflected back upon the idea of a Golem (robot) being given life or being made real through the power of Hebrew (Emet to Met). - Larry
Note to file: Kubrick intended David to be rejected and sent to a Tin City, a skid row death camp for robots. But one day, Kubrick said this was all shit and changed the focus of the film to the blue fairy and Pinnochio.

Aryan Papers

TITLE: Aryan Papers
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD:
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME:
SOURCE:
TEXT: Based on Wartime Lies by Louis Begley. The story of a Jewish boy and his aunt, trying to survive in Poland during WWII. Expected release is Fall 2001.

Focus

TITLE: Focus
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Neal Slavin
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME:
SOURCE: Paramount Classics
TEXT: Expected release September 2001. A Brooklyn couple get mistaken as Jews by their neighbors, but find friendship and support from a neighboring Jewish immigrant. Based on a story by Arthur Miller. Set during the last days of WWII.

Vulgar Genius. The Movies of Mel Brooks

TITLE: Vulgar Geneius; The Movies of Mel Brooks
YEAR: 2001
TEXT: A Festival of the American Museum of the Moving Image (see Ammi.ORG ) . July 7 - 15 2001. A retrospective of Mel Brooks' films, including The Twelve Chairs (1970), The Critic (1963), The Producers (1968), Silent Movie (1976), Blazing Saddles (1973), Young Frankestein (1974), High Anxiety (1977), The History of the World Part One (1981), and Spaceballs (1987).

Edges of the Lord

TITLE: Edges of the Lord
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Yurek Bugayavicz / Millenium Films
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME:
SOURCE: Miramax Films
TEXT: Release in Fall 2001. Haley Joel Osment and Willem Dafoe star. Jewish boy living in Nazi occupied Poland, hides with a Catholic family, and watched over by a kind priest (Dafoe)

The Grey Zone

TITLE: The Grey Zone
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Tim Blake Nelson / Harvey Keitel, Peggy Gormley, Danny Dimbort, Trevor Short, Brad Weston, John Wells, Avi Lerner, Danny Lerner, Pamela Koffler, Christine Vachon, Tim Blake Nelson
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 108
SOURCE: Killer Films, Millenium Films.
TEXT: Stars: David Arquette, Steve Buscemi, Harvey Keitel, Natasha Lyonne, Mira Sorvino
Based on the life of Miklos Nyiszli, who worked for Dr Mengele at Auschwitz. Based on the play (the grey zone) and the book (Auschwitz. A doctor's eyewitness account). Based on Primo Levi's essay. Miklos Nyiszli,, the doctor on whose memoir the movie is based, is played by Allan Corduner. Harvey Keitel plays Muhsfeldt. There is a moral grey zone in which he and other prisoners live. Filmed in Sofia Bulgaria.
The story of the Sonderkommandos, special squads of Jews who processed the gassed corpses from the Number 1 crematorium at Birkenau death camp. Those who were drafted into this unit (which operated til Fall 1944) would have been shot had they refused. They worked a 14 hour shift, and lived above the crematorium. They received special privileges, and some gained a few more months of life by being the people who would salvage the bodies for clothes, gold fillings, and hair. Based on Primo Levi's essay called The Grey Zone. Prior to writing this script, Tim Blake Nelson, 36, spent 18 months writing a play about his mother's family's escape from Germany shortly before Kristallnacht. He later wrote the play, The Grey Zone, which was directed by Doug Hughes and produced in NYC in 1996. Millenium - Nu Image Films of Israel invested $5 million in the production. Filmed in Sofia Bulgaria, and Giten Bulgaria (where they built two crematorium and hired 800 extras for $10 per day. The 200 women who allowed their heads to be shaved were paid $50). Stars Harvey Keitel (executive producer as well as Muhsfeldt, a Nazi mid-level bureaucrat), Mira Sorvino, Steve Buscemi, and David Arquette (plays Hoffman, a Sonderkommando who finds a young girl alive in the gas chamber).
Tim Blake Nelson (Brown grad, born 1965 in Okie, last seen in O Brother Where Art Thou) adapted the screenplay of The Grey Zone from his own play, which was based on the book "Auschwitz: A Doctor's Eyewitness Account" by Miklos Nyiszli, a character featured in the film. The film, play and book dramatize the powerful story of Auschwitz's twelfth Sonderkommando - one of the 13 consecutive "Special Squads" of Jewish prisoners placed by the Nazis in the excruciating position of helping to exterminate fellow Jews in exchange for a few more months of life. The job of the Sonderkommando was to herd Jewish prisoners into the gas chambers, shovel the corpses into the giant incinerators and dispose of the truckloads of ashes. For executing these hideous tasks, the men were rewarded with freedom of movement and tables laden with food and wine in their barracks.
They also knew that they too would soon be condemned.
The film chronicles the Sonderkommando's struggle to organize the only armed revolt that would ever take place at Auschwitz. As the rebellion is about to commence, a group from the unit discovers a fourteen-year-old girl who has miraculously survived the gas chamber. She acts as a catalyst for the men's desperate attempt at personal redemption and they become obsessed with saving this one child, although doing so endangers the uprising which could save thousands. Like a doctor carrying out medical experiments under the direction of the notorious Nazi doctor Mengele, who convinces himself that he will make a contribution to science and the betterment of human life, this group of Jewish men who argue that they are not the executioners - that they do not actually kill - find themselves in a moral grey zone.
The extraordinary cast's subtle performances bring to life the investigation of this complex moral dilemma. Dramatizing the historical event with meticulous attention to the infamous concentration camp setting and its technologies of death, the film often recreates, in shattering close-ups, details that we have previously seen only in long shot in archival footage. And while director Nelson firmly rejects sentimental Spielbergian melodrama, he makes superb use of cinematic fiction to tell the terrible story.
Shown at the Toronto International Film Festival, September 2001. Shown at Haifa Film Festival in October 2001.

Hoffman

TITLE: Hoffman
YEAR: 2002
DIR/PROD: menno Meyjes
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME:
SOURCE: H2O Motion Pictures, Kinowelt Medien
TEXT: Stars John Cusack (Hoffman), Noah Taylor (Hitler), Leelee Sobieski, and Ulrich Thomsen. Meyjes co-wrote The Color Purple screenplay and Lionheart. This is a fictional story set after World War ONE, when the young Adolph Hitler was an aspiring painter with a love for classical periods. He meets a Jewish art dealer (Hoffman) and teacher in 1918. Hitler fails at his art and becomes politically involved and foments a hatred of Jews. Shooting to commence in Fall 2001 in Budapest and Amsterdam.

Invincible

TITLE: Invincible
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Werner HERZOG
COUNTRY: UK
LANGUAGE: English
TIME:
SOURCE: Fine Line Features
TEXT: September 2001 release. The tale of a Jewish man (Breitbart) who could lay claim to the title a "World's Strongest Man" in the early Nazi period. The former blacksmith actually claimed to be the strongest man in Berlin in the 1930s. (Jouka Ahola stars as Zesha Breitbart, Jouka is an actual award winning weightlifter)

MARCI X

TITLE: Marci X
YEAR: 2002
DIR/PROD: Richard Benjamin
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME:
SOURCE: Paramount Pictures
TEXT: Stars Lisa Kudrow, Damon Wayans, Christine Baranski, Richard Benjamin. Written by Paul Rudnick. A young Jewish woman named Marci takes over a hard core rap label, felony Assault, from her father (Richard Benjamin). Shoot ya Teacher becomes a hit, and Marci must deal with the PR nightmare as well as the outrage of a right wing Senator.

In The Blood

TITLE: In The Blood
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: Diane Nerwin
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 31 minutes on video
SOURCE: Seen at the NY Video Fest. Contact www.FilmLinc.com/nyvf/nyvf.htm
TEXT: In the Blood (Diane Nerwen, USA, 2000, 31m) Using appropriated visuals from films, newsreels and home movies, Nerwen explores anti-Semitism, racism and cultural identity within the complex contemporary relationship between American Jews and Germans

Blue and White in Red Square

TITLE: Blue and White in Red Square
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: Elan Frank
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English, Hebrew, Russian, w/Eng. Subtitles
TIME: 60, video
SOURCE: Elan Frank, 14930 Moorpark #204, Sherman oaks CA 91403 USA. ElanFrank@aol.com
TEXT: n July 1998, one thousand young musicians representing 11 youth philharmonic orchestras from around the world gathered to form the "Orchestra of the World." Under the baton of Russian maestro Valerie Gergeyev, the youth, representing East and West, friend and foe, offered stirring renditions of Mussorgsky and Tchaikowsky to a worldwide television audience. For the teens this was a once-in-a lifetime night to remember. Among the performers were the members of the Young Israeli Philharmonic, many of whom where born in the former Soviet Union. Israeli-born filmmaker Elan Frank draws us into the stories and insights of young Israeli-Russian musicians, most of whom are returning to the land of their birth for the first time. In the end, the music bridges a chasm between past and future.

Tsipa and Volf

TITLE: Tsipa and Volf
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Daniel Gamburg
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English, Russian, w/Eng. Subtitles
TIME: 20, video
SOURCE: Daniel gamburg, 750 17th Avenue Suite 102, San Francisco CA 94121 Daniel@barewitness.com Tel/415-668-1091
TEXT: A grandson creates a loving portrait of his elderly grandparents, Tsipa and Volf Gamburg. Over a period of six years, San Francisco filmmaker Daniel Gamburg lets them tell their own story of love, loss and love again. Screened at the 2001 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. SFJFF.org

Circumcision

TITLE: Circumcision
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: Nurith Aviv
COUNTRY: France
LANGUAGE: English, French, w/Eng. Subtitles
TIME: 52 video
SOURCE: les.films.d-ici@wanadoo.fr Les Films d-ici, 12 Rue Clavel Paris 75019 Israel
TEXT: This taboo-breaker by veteran Israeli filmmaker and internationally renowned camerawoman Nurith Aviv (MAKOM AVODA, 1998) is an edifying and at times very funny comparison of the meaning of circumcision across cultures. Aviv focuses on non-religious people who come from backgrounds in which the operation is routinely practiced. Interview subjects include North African and European Jews, Arabs, Christian Americans and ethnically mixed couples, all of whom come from left-wing secular backgrounds. They speak frankly about complex, contradictory emotions and discuss the difficult decisions they have made or might make for their sons. All reveal a surprisingly deep, often troubled, ambivalence about the ritual act of severance, which, paradoxically, connects Jewish males to their People. "A provocative documentary in which men, naked before the camera, speak about their penis in raw terms . . . this film sheds light on the tangled roots of culture and community." - Le Monde. Screened at the 2001 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. SFJFF.org

Abe's Manhood

TITLE: Abe's Manhood
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: Aubrey Nealon
COUNTRY: Canada
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 15, 35mm
SOURCE: aubnealon@hotmail.com Aubrey Nealon, 1160A Victoria Drive Vancouver BC V5L 4G5 Canada Tel: 604-254-4815
TEXT: Twenty-four-year-old Abraham Evans is anxious to define himself once and for all as an adult, as a man. To this end, he has devised his own personal rite of passage. This wonderfully original short feature ponders the meaning of tradition in post-modern society and casts a satiric eye on spirituality in West Coast culture. "Offers bittersweet insight into the dread of growing up and facing the world.... Prompts both smiles and winces." - Toronto Star Screened at the 2001 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. SFJFF.org

Disparus

TITLE: Disparus
YEAR: 1998
DIR/PROD: Gilles Bourdos
COUNTRY: France
LANGUAGE: French and Hebrew w/ English ST
TIME: 110 minutes, 35mm
SOURCE: www.filmsdistribution.com Sarah Imchal, Films Distribution 6 rue de l ecole de medecine, Paris 75006 France info@filmsdistribution.com
TEXT: Based on a true story, this tense, erotic thriller captures the wild atmosphere of Paris' bohemian avant-garde and the mood of uncertainty in radical political circles during the years preceding World War II. The young Jewish poet, blue-collar printer and Trotskyist revolutionary Alfred Katz falls in love with Mila, the famous Man Ray model. He also befriends a handsome and ambitious Stalinist revolutionary, Félix, one of Mila's lovers. Their ménage à trois has a strong homo-erotic component. But when the pro-Stalin French Communist Party imposes a crackdown on Trotskyists, the relationship between Félix and Katz shifts, and Katz suddenly finds himself in danger. The film alternates between the late 1930s and 1989 when a Parisian woman, Louise, finds a diary that belonged to her murdered lover, Katz's son. She is thrust into the role of detective, bravely untangling a political and romantic intrigue that still arouses violent passions. Screened at the 2001 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. SFJFF.org

Stille

TITLE: Stille
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Wendy Oberlander
COUNTRY: Canada/USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 25 minutes in Beta SP and VHS; NTSC and PAL
SOURCE: Wendy Oberlander Hahn & Daughters Productions phone & fax: 604.709.9335 email: wendo@portal.ca
TEXT: Video artist Wendy Oberlander (NOTHING TO BE WRITTEN HERE, 1997 SFJFF) takes us back to the world of assimilated German-speaking Jews during the 1930s. Sixty years after exile, Wendy returns with her mother to Berlin and finds the dissonance of her family's Diaspora playing in real time. This video is an indelible montage of faces that pieces together the inheritance she received from her mother's story. An original score by bass clarinetist Lori Freedman, plus sections of improvisations played by Freedman and cellist Peggy Lee, amplifies the gaps between memory and history. Picture, word and music surround each other in a retelling of the endless Jewish story. Screened at the 2001 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. SFJFF.org

Family Secret

TITLE: Family Secret
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: Pola Rapaport
COUNTRY: France and USA
LANGUAGE: French, Hebrew, Romanian, w/Eng. Subtitles
TIME: 58 min in 16mm
SOURCE: PolaRap@aol.com
TEXT: Filmmaker Pola Rapaport tells the story of a surprising discovery in her own family. More than 25 years after the death of her father, a Romanian-born doctor practicing in the United States, she received a letter from a stranger in Bucharest "looking for a trace of Dr. Ionel Rapaport family." So begins the adventure which links in the most intimate relationship she has experienced since her childhood. Using scenes of reunion, letters written by Pola and her brother and startlingly beautiful images of Paris, Romania and New York, the filmmaker welcomes the viewer into the warmth of the Rapaport family. As West meets East, the film proves both how foreign and how similar long-lost relatives can appear to one another. Screened at the 2001 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. SFJFF.org

Inside Out

TITLE: Inside Out
YEAR: 1998
DIR/PROD: Neal Sundstrom
COUNTRY: South Africa
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 98 min in 35mm
SOURCE: Mary Ann Jacobs, Penguin Films, 111 Central Street, Houghton, 2198, Johannesburg, South Africa penguin@icon.co.ZA
TEXT: This thoroughly enjoyable romantic comedy provides an interesting glimpse at the current state of relations between Jews, and Christians of all colors in South Africa's popular imagination. When the opportunity arises to perform as an opening act for an almost-famous comic in Cape Town, a fast-talking, down-on-her heels comedienne named Hazel Levine jumps at the chance and speeds off through the desert in her overloaded Volkswagen Beetle. When her car breaks down, she finds herself stranded in a small white Christian town, which, as luck would have it, is looking for someone to direct its annual Christmas nativity play. After taking the job, Hazel causes an uproar when she decides to integrate the performance. But when she becomes romantically involved with Tertius, a handsome white farmer, she discovers that change is a two-way street. Screened at the 2001 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. SFJFF.org

Grrly Show

TITLE: Grrly Show
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: Kara Herold
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 18 min video
SOURCE: www.wmm.com Women Make Movies OR Kara Herold 576 Valencia # 202 San Francisco, CA 94110 phone: 415 522 1546 Email: karaherold@yahoo.com
TEXT: This inventive documentary looks at the proliferation of alternative magazines published by women and explores the movement's relationship to contemporary feminist (including Jewish Feminist) culture. In keeping with the "girl zine" technique of reclaiming traditionally male print culture and giving it a feminist twist, local filmmaker Kara Herold hilariously appropriates the campy style of 1950s educational films to deliver a message: go out and do it yourself! Screened at the 2001 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. SFJFF.org

Waiting for the Messiah / SPERANDO AL MESÍAS

TITLE: Waiting for the Messiah
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: Daniel Burman
COUNTRY: Argentina, Italy and Spain
LANGUAGE: Spanish w/ English ST
TIME: 98 min in 35mm
SOURCE: Adriana Chiesa Enterprises, Via Barnaba Oriant 24/A, Roma 00197 ITALY Tel:/3906-808-6052 Fax: 3906-806-8-7855 or try Phone Tel: 39-0680-70-400
TEXT: This second feature by a remarkably accomplished 27-year-old director is a semi-autobiographical story about a Buenos Aires Jew in his early twenties who sets out in search of his destiny and of his city. Sick of a well-ordered life of Hebrew club meetings, family shabbat dinners and work at his father's kosher restaurant, Ariel gets a job on the graveyard shift at a video production company. There he meets an exciting older woman, Laura, who is bisexual and from a Catholic background. She asks Ariel to work with her on a documentary about an unemployed former bank teller named Santamaría, who ekes out a living on the margins of Buenos Aires. While Ariel and Laura follow Santamaría day in and day out, people in the Jewish part of town are getting ready for Hannukah. Everyone misses Ariel, especially Estela, the beautiful young woman he has known all his life. Back at the restaurant, the first Hannukah candle is lit and Ariel's chair remains empty. "MESSIAH handles ethnicity lightly and affectionately, making Jewishness one of many parallel universes that coexist in a tricky urban environment. Variety Magazine. Screened at the 2001 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. SFJFF.org

The Seventh Day

TITLE: The Seventh Day
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: Gabriel Lichtmann
COUNTRY: Argentina
LANGUAGE: Spanish, w/Eng. Subtitles
TIME: 14 min in 35mm
SOURCE: www.ucine.edu.AR Email Fuc@ucine.edu.ar (universidad del cine in buenos aires, pje. J.m. giuffra 330, buenos aires 1064 argentina) or Gabriel Lichtmann Cervino 4000 piso 10 Buenos Aires 1425 phone: 5411 154 4041627; 5411 480 71780 Email: gabili@hotmail.com
TEXT: This is a light-hearted short feature on a serious subject: security measures the Argentine Jewish community was forced to adopt following anti-Semitic bombings of Jewish institutions. After an intense summer rainstorm, the power is out (blackout) and Buenos Aires is a jumbled mess of traffic. As a result, Matías' grandparents arrive very late for his bar mitzvah. But synagogue security causes an even greater delay... it also has a serious undercurrent as it addresses the changes in Argentinian Jewish life since the 1994 bombing of the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires. Screened at the 2001 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. SFJFF.org also at Boston JFF (BJFF.org in November 2001) and the NY Jewish Film Festival in January 2002

Passengers

TITLE: Passengers
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: Francine Zuckerman
COUNTRY: Canada
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 15 min in 35 mm
SOURCE: canadian distribution center. www.cfmdc.org Tel: 416-588-0725 in Toronto Ontario
TEXT: Evocative and dreamlike, PASSENGERS is a compelling and moving exploration of the relationship between a daughter and her father as she matures from childhood to adulthood. On the day of his funeral, she draws on the legacy of his love in order to come to terms with her own sexual identity. Screened at the 2001 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. SFJFF.org

Watching you

TITLE: Watching you
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: Stephanie Abranovich
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w/Eng. Subtitles
TIME: 32 min on Beta SP
SOURCE: stsabitwini@hotmail.com Stephanie Abramovich, Givati 7/17 Nof Galim Netanya 42463 Israel Tel in Israel 9729-865-7901
TEXT: Sharon is a single mother with a possessive girlfriend and a controlling boss. She escapes her reality by watching and photographing her attractive neighbor, Michal, who lives across the street. One magical night brings these two women together, giving each the strength to make essential changes in their lives. The film stars Avital Dicker (LIFE ACCORDING TO AGFA, 1993 SFJFF). Screened at the 2001 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. SFJFF.org

JEWISH LUCK

TITLE: JEWISH LUCK
YEAR: 1925
DIR/PROD: Alexander Granovsky
COUNTRY: Russia
LANGUAGE: SILENT
TIME: 90 minutes in black and white 35mm
SOURCE: National Center for Jewish Film at brandeis NCJF@Brandeis.edu
TEXT: This classic of Soviet cinema is a very funny adaptation of Sholom Aleichem's story, "Mendel the Matchmaker." It is also the film debut of the great Yiddish State Art Theatre actor, Solomon Mikhoels, who was considered the greatest living Yiddish actor of his time. Mikhoel's character study of Mendel as a Chaplinesque figure - lovable, tragic and comic - has been called one of the finest performances in cinema history. Mendel is a luftmensch (one who buys and sells dreams) who, by chance, becomes a matchmaker and experiences one hilarious calamity after another. This film features a luminous dream sequence on the Odessa Steps that became the inspiration for the famous scene in Sergei Eisenstein's POTEMKIN, which was shot on the same location. Both films were photographed by Eduard Tisse.
When the film was shown at the 2001 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival in July 2001, it was performed with music by Daniel Hoffman, He performed JEWISH LUCK with the San Francisco Klezmer Experience (Ben Goldberg, clarinets; Daniel Hoffman, violin; Jeanette Lewicki, accordion; Kevin Mummey, drums; Stephen Saxon, trumpets, alto horn; Richard Saunders, bass; Charlie Seavey, trombone). With modern sensibilities, virtuoso musicianship and a great sense of humor, the SFKE celebrates the wild and passionate essence of klezmer, performed with daring, panache and abandon. The SFKE was created by violinist Daniel Hoffman for the American Conservatory Theater's 1996 production of the hit klezmer musical, "Shlemiel The First," and boasts an all-star roster of the Bay Area's nationally recognized and innovative klezmer musicians. Screened at the 2001 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. SFJFF.org

Key from Spain

TITLE: Key from Spain
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: Mischa Livingstone and Ankica Petrovic
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English, Ladino, w/Eng. Subtitles
TIME: 40 min in video
SOURCE: the National Center for Jewish Film. NCJF@brandeis.edu
TEXT: Flory Jagoda, born into a Sephardic family in Bosnia, was given the gift of music by her mother. This documentary includes a trove of Ladino songs from medieval Spain beautifully interpreted by this gifted singer and storyteller, who now lives in the United States. Raised in the Jewish community of Sarajevo, which was 12,000 strong before the war, Flory and her immediate family fled when the Nazis occupied her country in 1941. After the war, she wrote a collection of songs that chronicles her people's fate. The film follows her return to Sarajevo to deliver a stirring performance following the siege of 1992. Screened at the 2001 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. SFJFF.org

The Cross Inscribed in the Star of David

TITLE: The Cross Inscribed in the Star of David
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: Grzegorz Linkowski
COUNTRY: POLAND
LANGUAGE: Polish with English ST
TIME: 28 minutes in video
SOURCE: contact the SF Jewish Film Festival producers at SFJFF.ORG
TEXT: A Jewish mother from the ghetto of Swieciany, Poland, hands over her six-day-old baby to her Polish neighbor saying: "You are a believing Christian... with faith in Jesus. He was a Jew. Save this Jewish infant in the name of the Jew you believe in. Once the baby grows up you will live to see him become a priest." Father Romuald Jakub Weksler-Waszkinel, unaware of his Jewish mother's plea, fulfilled a prophecy by entering the seminary. This is his story. 2000 San Francisco International Film Festival. Screened at the 2001 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. SFJFF.org

My Heart Belongs To Daddy

TITLE: My Heart belongs To Daddy
YEAR: 1999
DIR/PROD: Brita Landoff
COUNTRY: Sweden
LANGUAGE: English subtitles and Yiddish
TIME: 4 minutes in 35mm
SOURCE: lindberg@chello.SE Tel in sweden 468-653-3080 Brita Landoff(director) Drakenbergsgatan 61 SE-117 41 Stockholm Sweden Ph: 46-8-658-6566 Fax: 46-8-652-9720
TEXT: MTV meets Stockholm's version of Second Avenue in a delightfully schmaltzy, post-modern rendition of the Yiddish folk song "Mein hertz gehert zum tatn", performed by Swedish actress Basia Frydman. Screened at the 2001 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. SFJFF.org

Louba's Ghosts

TITLE: Louba's Ghosts
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Martine Dugowson
COUNTRY: France
LANGUAGE: French, w/Eng. Subtitles
TIME: 107 min in 35mm
SOURCE: cpecot@ugc.fr christophe pecot ugc international 2 rue de quatre-fils paris 75003 france
TEXT: Martine Dugowson, director of the critical and box office success MINA TANNENBAUM (1995 SFJFF), reconnects with her favorite actress, Elsa Zylberstein (Louba as an adult). Together they fuel the film's powerful exploration of female rivalry. The film demonstrates how the betrayal of French Jews during the Nazi occupation continues to affect young lives. As an orphaned teenager, Louba is taken in by a kindly family in the French countryside and develops an unusually passionate relationship with her stepsister Jeanie. The erotic tension between the two girls progressively channels itself into a fierce attachment for a boy, the sultry, romantic Charlie. A lurid tale of love and betrayal ensues. Years later, as young adults living in contemporary Paris, the three cross paths again. Julia Levy-Boeken turns in a fine performance as the young Louba struggling to find herself in the shadow of her sexy non-Jewish stepsister. Screened at the 2001 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. SFJFF.org

Once We Grow Up

TITLE: Once We Grow Up
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: Renaud Cohen
COUNTRY: France
LANGUAGE: French with English ST
TIME: 92 min in 35mm
SOURCE: www.filmsdistribution.com Sarah Imchal, Films Distribution 6 rue de l ecole de medecine, Paris 75006 France info@filmsdistribution.com
TEXT: This delightful romantic comedy tells the story of a 30-year-old journalist, Simon, who is struggling to build a family and trying to understand how his Algerian Jewish roots affect his place in contemporary, multicultural Paris. As the film begins, Simon is torn between his job at Tobacco Monthly and his long-distance relationship with his girlfriend Christine. He also has a distant relationship with his father Isaac, whom he sees all the time. When he is not worrying about whether he and Christine will have a child, he is rescuing his grandmother from danger. She has taken to wandering the Paris streets, convinced she is back in Algeria. When Simon meets his pregnant neighbor Claire, a fellow North African Jew who is neglected by her Ashkenazi (European-Jewish) husband, his life takes an unexpected turn. Matthieu Demy (JEANNE ET LE GARÇON FORMIDABLE) plays the lead role beautifully, with humor and a charm that is more than skin deep. Amira Casars, who won a French Oscar for her supporting role in WOULD I LIE TO YOU? (2000 SFJFF), is enchanting as Claire. The fine ensemble cast includes Marie Payen as Simon's lesbian friend who experiments (unsuccessfully) with men, Julien Boisselier as a straight white guy who wants (also haplessly) to be Senegalese, and Eric Bonicatto as a frustrated boxer. ONCE WE GROW UP is the first feature film from a talented young director with a soft touch. Screened at the 2001 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. SFJFF.org

One of the Hollywood Ten

TITLE: One of the Hollywood Ten
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: Karl Francis
COUNTRY: UK and Spain
LANGUAGE: Englsh
TIME: 102 min in 35mm
SOURCE: www.alibifilms.co.uk Alibi Films International 12 Maiden Lane London UK Rachel Hughes / 35 Long Acre London WC2E 9JT UK phone: 44 20 7845 0410 fax: 44 20 7836 6919 Email: rachelhughes@alibifilms.co.uk
TEXT: Set at the height of the Cold War in the fifties, ONE OF THE HOLLYWOOD TEN examines the personal struggle and triumph of film director Herbert Biberman in his crusade to continue his career in the face of the McCarthy-led blacklist. At its most personal, Biberman's story is a compelling drama of individual perseverance and familial sacrifice and, at its most political, a conspiracy thriller and ever-relevant testament to societal paranoia and hate mongering. Biberman and his wife, Academy Award-winning actress Gale Sondergaard, refused to name names and stood by their acknowledged communist beliefs. As a result, Biberman was cited for contempt of Congress, sentenced to jail and forced out of the Directors Guild of America. Resolved to fight back, he made the film THE SALT OF THE EARTH which, in 1992, was among the first 100 films to be placed in the Library of Congress. With Jeff Goldblum, Greta Scacchi and Angela Molina. 2001 San Francisco International Film Festival Screened at the 2001 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. SFJFF.org

Three Kisses

TITLE: Three Kisses
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: Johanna Hibbard
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 7 minutes on 16mm color
SOURCE: johanna@pacificu.edu johanna hibbard 1304 SE ash, #E Portland OR 97214
TEXT: Animation. A Sephardic wedding, an Italian disco, the streets of Spain... This animated, interlocking triptych has lots of love and color. Screened at the 2001 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. SFJFF.org

Unforgettable Faces

TITLE: Unforgettable Faces
YEAR: 1994
DIR/PROD: Nicole Newnham
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 12 minutes in 16mm
SOURCE: www.naatanet.org distribution@NAATAnet.org NAATA SF,CA 94103
TEXT: This well-crafted film tells the heroic, not uncommon story of a Japanese-American soldier who risked his life to fight the Nazis while his own family was locked up in an internment camp back in the United States. It is also the story of a Jewish survivor who will never forget the faces of the Japanese-American army division that saved her from a German death camp. Screened at the 2001 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. SFJFF.org

The Walnut Tree

TITLE: The Walnut Tree
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: Elida Schogt
COUNTRY: CANADA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 11 min in 16mm
SOURCE: Women Make Movies. 462 Broadway. Suite 500 New York, NY 10013 www.wmm.com
TEXT: This is the second short film in a young filmmaker's sensitive and imaginative trilogy about her family's survival (the first was ZYKLON PORTRAIT, 2000 SFJFF). When Elida Shogt's family fled, they took with them several pictures from the family album. THE WALNUT TREE is a lyrical story of missing photographs, told with those that remain. Screened at the 2001 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. SFJFF.org

Doda Diya

TITLE: Doda Diya
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: Moshe Churi
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Arabic, French, Hebrew, w/Eng. Subtitles
TIME: 25 minutes on video
SOURCE: mahale06@inter.NET.IL Hedva Goldschmidt at the Maale School in Jerusalem
TEXT: When the filmmaker's elderly Tunisian-Jewish aunt fulfills her dream of returning to the Isle of Djerba, he follows her with a camera. Doda Dia immediately feels right at home. She takes great pleasure in simple tasks, like bargaining with shopkeepers at the colorful outdoor market, and in an all-important challenge: finding the perfect Tunisian bride for her beloved Israeli nephew. Screened at the 2001 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. SFJFF.org

Street Under Fire

TITLE: Street Under Fire
YEAR: 2001
DIR/PROD: Amir Tal and Kobi Yonatan
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w/ English ST
TIME: 40 min video
SOURCE: kobiyonatana@hotmail.com Kobi Yonatan, 86/14 Yeffe Rom Jerusalem Israel 93905 Tel/972-52-406-773
TEXT: The Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo has been the target of sniper attacks from the adjacent Palestinian village of Beit Jala since the beginning of the new Intifada. This timely documentary features interviews with neighbors talking about their personal reactions to their plight. It also presents the Israeli government's reaction-positioning tanks in streets of their once peaceful neighborhood. As we watch images of mortar attacks on Beit Jala and the continuous shelling of Gilo we are made witnesses to the human consequences of the current hostilities. Screened at the 2001 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. SFJFF.org

Total Love

TITLE: Total Love
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: Gur bentwich
COUNTRY: India, Netherlands and Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w/ English ST
TIME: 84 min in 35mm
SOURCE: YamiMyagidu@hotmail.com Eyal Shiray, Cinema Factory, 11 Chayey Adam Street Tel Aviv 67445 Israel.
TEXT: Three Israeli friends concoct Total Love, a new aphrodisiac, and make plans to smuggle it abroad. The story follows the misadventures of these 20-somethings dabbling in minor-league recreational drug peddling, a journey that takes them from Israel to Amsterdam and the Indian province of Goa. This is the world of backpacking global wanderers, budget travel guides, raves and "smart" drugs. When one of the group, the precocious Renana (played by Tinkerbell), is arrested and thrown into an Indian prison, her friends, all ex-lovers, join forces to rescue her. This breakaway Israeli film is original, good-hearted and utterly charming. While many drug films focus on violence and betrayal, this one is an unabashedly earnest, far-reaching quest for true love. The trance scene began in the late 1980s in Goa and has since spread around the globe. No one has gobbled up the phenomenon more eagerly than Israeli youth. Web Address: www.totalove.com Screened at the 2001 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. SFJFF.org

Moses Vs. Godzilla

TITLE: Moses vs Godzilla
YEAR: 2000
DIR/PROD: brad morris
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 7 min video
SOURCE: brad@atlanteum.com tel 818/7761892
TEXT: Made by a team of animators while they were working on THE PRINCE OF EGYPT, this faux trailer uses high tech animation to parody THE TEN COMMANDMENTS and THE CLASH OF THE TITANS. Screened at the 2001 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. SFJFF.org

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