YOSSI AND JAGGeR
TITLE: YOSSI AND JAGGeR
DIR/PROD: Eytan Fox / Amir Harel, Gal Uchovsky
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w/ English subtitles
SOURCE: Larna productions at email@example.com.IL or Wouter Barendrecht
Fortissimo Film Sales Veemarkt 77-99 Amsterdam, 1019 DA Phone: 31 20 627 32 15
Fax: 31 20 626 11 55 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or in the USA contact STRAND RELEASING in Santa Monica CA Phone: (310) 395-5002 or go to their webpage of YossiAndJagger.COM
TEXT: Stars Ohad Knoller, Yehuda Levi, Assi Cohen, Hani Furstenberg. EYtan Fox scores once again with a tender emotional hit. The story is of the love affair between two Israeli army officers. Yossi is a brooding commander. Jagger (or Lior AmiChai, but nicknamed Jagger cuz he has the energy of appeal of a rock star) is one of his squad leaders, open minded and deft. They are stationed at the Lebanese border in the Golan in bitter cold and snow. The group has an amalgam of slightly off kilter soldiers. The territory is dangerous, and their secret relationship is dangerous as well. The story is about the stupidity of war as well as love in the midst of muck. The editing of the snow scene brings the love of life to the screen amidst the fear and terror of being in the army and facing ambushes. The film was shot in the Golan during the Winter of a huge snowfall. The budget was $200,000 and the IDF did not cooperate
David Kwok writes, “A surprise crossover hit in its home country Israel, Yossi & Jagger is a forthright but sophisticated portrayal of Israeli military life. Director Eytan Fox paints a modest and poignant tale of young love waning within an oppressive and rigid system. Israel's system of mandatory military service for men and women means most soldiers are in the prime of their youths, like Yossi and Jagger. Yossi is the company leader and Jagger is the platoon commander in a military company at the Israel-Lebanon border. The two men are also lovers who make their rounds together so they can be alone. The focus on the delicate details accentuates the intimacy of Yossi and Jagger's relationship. Already complicated by military standards, things grow even more complex for the couple with other soldiers in the platoon, specifically Yaeli, a young female soldier who has a crush on Jagger but is unaware of his secret. Yossi is determined to keep their relationship private and be the good soldier that he is. Jagger, on the other hand, would like Yossi to leave the army when Jagger's service is over so they can be a real couple. The tension continues to grow in preparation for a dangerous ambush. Elegantly paced and written, and with DV work that gives it a candid immediacy, Yossi & Jagger vibrantly captures the universal complexities of adolescence against the backdrop of the harsh realities of the Israeli military.”
For those who will die unless they can here the music again from the film.. please note that the two main songs are YOUR SOUL by RITA, and then IVRI LIDER (THE NEW PEOPLE) sings YOUR SOUL at the end, without changing the gender case of “YOU”. “Your Soul” (Rita); “Titchaneni Elay” (Evyatar Banay); “Part Of The Process” (Morcheeba); “Your Favorite Music” (Clem Snide); “Enlightened Evolution” (Astral Projection);
“Your Soul” (Ivri Lider) Lyrics: Miri Feigenboym Music: Rami Kleinstein Helikon
Eytan Fox writes the following: “It is the older and supposedly wiser men who decide about wars. And it is always naive young men manipulated by elders who fight these wars. Armies around the world, in Israel, Britain, Palestine, the U.S., Germany, Serbia and Iraq, are composed primarily of 20-year-olds. Young men and women who at this stage of their life should have been celebrating freedom and enjoying love. Instead they are learning to obey orders and fight. Kill and get killed. In Israel army service is mandatory. It's not a choice. Therefore the army is a microcosm and a melting pot of Israeli society. A place where people shape their identities. I was a soldier in the Israeli army. I was there during the shameful unnecessary Lebanon war. Besides the terrible fear and anguish shared by all the soldiers during that time I had my own inner struggle. It was my private war. A war that in those days could hardly be dealt with publicly let alone in the army. A war I believed had to remain a secret. The movie Yossi & Jagger, which is based on a true story, is about that secret. Scriptwriter Avner Bernheimer and myself wanted to make a film that opposes militarism but loves the soldiers. A movie that could laugh with their jokes but still feel terribly sad for them. A movie on how bad kept secrets are, and how they ruin our lives. A movie that makes you want to pray everyday for peace and the disarming of the world (but still allows you to think soldiers can sometimes be really hot). We hope this unique love story will touch your hearts as it touched ours.”
SPOILER SPOILERS.. don’t read more until after you see it. This is based on a true story. There are many stories like it I am sure, but one story in particular was the kernel for this story. It concerned two soldiers, one of whom was a “lone soldier”, meaning his parents were no longer living in Israel. When he was killed, his parents came to Israel to retrieve the body and bury it in France. The soldier’s commander said to them, “he was loved and a fine brave soldier.” He did not mention to them that he and their son were in a committed loving relationship for the past two years. NOTE TO FILE: I wonder if Lior Ami-Chai’s last name is significant?
MORE… Eytan Fox told the following on May 7, at the Tribeca Film Festival. When he learned that his film would be screened at Tribeca, his mother said, :we shall go to NYC, go to the fest, I will buy a new dress, you will buy a suit, and we will have a corned beef sandwich at the Carnegie Deli. Eytan wasn’t planning on buying a suit for the single use of the Tribeca fest. But his mother, committed to gay rights and the peace movement, and Jerusalem and city planning, and equal housing for all, was diagnosed with lung cancer, and died three months before the NYC trip. Eytan bought the suit, but the sandwich was not as special without her.
The NYT writes: “The affair is not without its tensions. Yossi, the more macho and closeted, is not entirely comfortable with his sexuality and disapproves of his partner's fondness for "diva music" and other nonmanly tastes. The handsomer, more free-spirited and playful Jagger is a shameless coquette who pressures Yossi to consider leaving the army and living with him. Emotionally needy, Jagger petulantly hounds Yossi to put his love into words and deliver the Hollywood romantic fantasy he craves. When two attractive female soldiers, Goldie (Hani Furstenberg) and Yaeli (Aya Koren), arrive at the base, the suppressed sexual tensions among the soldiers intensify, and you worry that the lovers will be found out and disgraced. For the blond, sexually aggressive Goldie, the visits offer a welcome opportunity for hot, recreational sex. The dark-haired, moony-eyed Yaeli is a romantic who nurtures schoolgirl fantasies of a Champagne-and-roses affair with Jagger, whom she recognizes as special because of his sensitivity.
Even after her forlorn inquiries about Jagger's tastes in women elicit discouraging responses, Yaeli refuses to give up her dream. One soldier, Ofir (Assi Cohen), pines for her. When she rebuffs him, he focuses his resentment on Jagger.
If the situation has all the ingredients of a shrill, tearful melodrama, the filmmaker, working from a taut screenplay by Avner Bernheimer that doesn't waste a word or a gesture, keeps the emotional lid firmly in place. And this restraint lends the psychological undercurrents among the characters a resonance they would not otherwise have. Each of the soldiers, from the playful cook, Yaniv (Erez Kahana), to a tough, war-mongering colonel (Sharon Regniano), who pays a surprise visit, is incisively drawn. And the performances of Mr. Knoller and Mr. Levi (a leading Israeli soap opera star) distill the emotional chemistry of their precarious relationship.
"Yossi and Jagger" may be a gay love story. But the movie, which ends with a wallop, is an unusually subtle and convincing study of group psychology and fluctuating morale among professionals under stress in close quarters.
DIR/PROD: Menno Meyjes
TIME: 106 minutes
TEXT: Stars John Cusack, Leelee Sobieski, Molly Parker, and Noah Taylor. Set in Munich (munchen) after WW One, we find a young Adolf Hitler (Taylor), recently out of the Austrian Army and a beginning artist. Cusack plays Max Rothman, a Jewish art dealer who likes Hitler’s works. Rothman, also recently released from the Austrian Army, lost an arm during the war, but a Jew, he is more cosmopolitan than Hitler. Great acting, but an unusual story which some may find distasteful.
TITLE: THE EVENT
DIR/PROD: Thom Fitzgerald
TIME: 105 min 35mm
SOURCE: THINKfilm 451 Greenwich St 7th fl. NY NY 10013. 646-214-7908
TEXT: Shown at Sundance 2003. Starring Brent Carver, Olympia Dukakis, and Parker Posey. Matt has AIDS and wants to die. His cocktail of AIDS drugs no longer works. But choosing to die is illegal. Nick, a district attorney, is trying to prosecute those who throw parties and then commit suicide in Manhattan’s Chelsea and West Village neighborhoods. Brent plays the dying Jewish man, and Olympia is the caring, understanding grandmother to the family. Issues raised include, what is the responsibility of those left behind after a suicide; what good are laws that do not serve the people; and can people love a person enough to help him die.
TITLE: Ford Transit
DIR/PROD: Hany Abu Assad / bero Beyer
COUNTRY: Palestine Authority
LANGUAGE: Arabic with English Subtitles
TIME: 80 minutes in Super 16mm and 35mm
SOURCE: Cinephil. www.Cinephil.co.il Philippa@cinephil.co.il Tel Aviv Israel.
TEXT: Shown at Sundance World Documentary section. Abu Assad, who you may know through Nazareth 2000 and Rana’s Wedding, filmed this new documentary over a period of 4 weeks. Ford Transit passenger vans are used heavily on the West Bank to ferry Palestinians between towns and Jerusalem (el Quds). These vans were formerly used by the Israeli police, and then were given to Palestinian collaborators, who either leased them as taxis, used them for businesses, or sold them for profits. The director found this colorful, outspoken, and risk-taking cab driver while shooting Rana’s Wedding. While Palestinian passengers banter about Israeli army roadblocks, George Bush, corruption, Arafat, suicide bombers, curfews, and Israel, Rajai, their intrepid driver, maneuvers his Ford mini passenger van along the streets of the West Bank and Israel, between checkpoints and roadblocks, many times using backroads, ploys, and other ways to circumvent the Israel army. Barreling down streets, driving the wrong way down a road, he flaunts his attitude, gets slapped by a soldier, and seethes with contempt. The director [arranges for him] to pick up a Palestinian in a wheelchair to show the difficulty of movement with roadblocks, and arranges for a pretty woman to get on the van to see its affect on the male passengers. As the filmmaker told Jewishfilm.com, “my film is 100% documentary and 100% fiction.” The director also interviews Palestinian and other notables in the van as Rajai drives the West bank, notably Citizen Bishara, Hanan Ashrawi, and filmmaker B.Z. Goldberg (watch for a full hour of that interview on the DVD version). The director deftly makes use of western music (Fistful of Dollars), rap (the Palestinians as the Niggers of the Middle East), and Arabic ballads to convey deeper messages to the audience. The filmmaker should be influenced to subtitle the song lyrics to make the film more meaningful. In mid-film, Rajai asks Hany to stop filming, as he picks up a package for delivery to Israel. Hany, who also takes risks, does not stop filming.. and we discover that the Ford Transit is also used for…
TITLE: Brother Outsider – The Life of Bayard Rustin
DIR/PROD: Nancy Kates and Bennett Singer
TIME: 84 minutes
SOURCE: Fest programmers can contact Kates62@aol.com 510-601-7756
TEXT: This stirring documentary combines the story of a unique American life with a rich and fascinating chronicle of civil rights struggles in America in the late twentieth century. Bayard Rustin, a leader in these struggles, has long dwelt in the shadow of Martin Luther King, Jr.--partly by his own design, and partly through the complicity of activists, politicians, and historians. This film gives Rustin his due, particularly in mapping his strategic and moral choices whose impact on American political thought is still being felt. From his collegiate days as a music student enthralled by the ideals of Communism, to his imprisonment for conscientious objection to World War II, to his crucial role advising King on the tactics of nonviolent resistance, Rustin is shown as a tireless and intrepid organizer determined to hold America to its promises. Rustin's life is also a study in the parallels between racism and homophobia: During the 1940s and 1950s, at the same time he was battling Jim Crow, Rustin was remarkably open about being gay. Yet recognizing that his homosexuality presented a political liability, he made a conscious decision to remain in the background for the sake of the movement, only to be sacrificed later by its leaders. Myriad testimonials from colleagues and friends, stirring songs of protest sung by Rustin himself, and electrifying archival footage round out this inspiring and long-overdue portrait of conscience in action. Rustin was active in the Zionist and Soviet Jewry movements, which is mentioned in the film. Although much was filmed about this aspect of his life, including an indepth interview with Elie Wiesel, the final cut of this documentary does not include this.
Capturing the Friedmans
TITLE: Capturing the Friedmans
DIR/PROD: Andrew Jarecki / Andrew Jarecki, Marc Smerling
SOURCE: Hit The Ground Running Films, NYC, 212 581 3173
TEXT: Winner at Sundance 2003. Family life has always been essentially a private preserve, a world of secrets and closed doors, of guarded relationships and unattractive truths that never see the light of day. Andrew Jarecki's film, Capturing the Friedmans, is such an amazing revelation because it does what the title promises: captures a family on film. It creates a portrait which is complex, ambivalent, and absolutely engrossing because of video. Home movies were limited to recording special events, but the development of home video changed all that and made this film possible. The Friedmans are a seemingly typical, upper-middle-class Jewish family whose world is instantly transformed when the father and his youngest son are arrested and charged with shocking and horrible crimes. Caught up in hysteria and with their Great Neck community in an uproar, the family undergoes a media onslaught. But they shot the really interesting footage themselves. Given access to the family videos, Jarecki constructs his film as an investigation, but our expectations are constantly subverted. The film inquires not just into the life of a family but into a community, a legal system, and an era. By constantly changing perspectives and keeping the audience's judgments and understanding in flux, Capturing the Friedmans embodies the difficulty of capturing the truth.
Let me add the following… Not since the PBS series about the Louds, in An American Family, have the viewer been a witness to such a destruction of a family. The father of the middle class Jewish family was a beloved high school teacher, with an interest in reading child pornography. When a postal inspector found the foreign pornography magazines, close to a basement computer camp for neighborhood children, the Nassau County NY police were contacted. This set in motion extremely aggressive police interviews of the camp’s students, student who kept re-enrolling in the classes. Indictments for sexual abuse against two of the family’s members followed, and in the hysteria of California’s McMartin Preschool case, prison sentences were meted out. In a paper that was presented at the San Diego Children's Hospital's annual national conference on child abuse, David Pelcovitz, chief of child and adolescent psychology at Long Island's North Shore University Hospital ("Group Therapy and Hypnosis for Victims of Child Pornography and Extrafamilial Sexual Abuse") wrote that in his therapy with kids in the Friedman case, Many of them had no recollection of abuse, so he plied them with details about the Friedmans' purported crimes. The paper impliedthat he used hypnosis to jog their "memories." By then, studies by researchers like Nicholas Spanos and Elizabeth Loftus were emerging that cast doubt on the reality of repressed memory, as well as suggesting that hypnosis can create false recollections, even for abuse. Jarecki’s deft editing leaves the audience wondering what actually happened. The family, the media, the police, the “justice” system, and lawyers are all captured in this film, but the “truth”, the truth remains more elusive.
Music by Mr. Andrea Morricone (Jarecki resides with his family in Rome)
Note: The pornographic computer games found on some class computers, which police said were loaded by Arnold, were in fact being traded by kids all over Long Island in the late 1980s. Further, Arnold for years gave private piano lessons to grade school boys. Yet even when the community was rocked with news of the Friedmans' sexual perfidy, not one piano student came forward. Police got hold of Arnold's computer class rosters, but the piano students' names were never written down—which might explain why none of them "remembered" abuse.
Robert Capa In Love an War
TITLE: Robert Capa In Love an War
DIR/PROD: Anne Makepeace
SOURCE: WNET Masterpiece Theater, 212 560 8702 NYC
TEXT: As a down-and-out young photographer in Paris, the Hungarian-born Andre Friedman reinvented himself as an American named Robert Capa, and suddenly his pictures began to sell. Poetically, Friedman became the man he had created-a successful American photographer always away on assignment. A handsome, talented renegade, Robert Capa captured thousands of breathtaking images from all over the world, becoming a celebrated photographer specializing in documenting war. Anne Makepeace's newest film, Robert Capa In Love and War, expertly brings to life a legendary photographer as well as an intriguing man about town. Makepeace combines Capa's own striking images with perfectly matched archival footage. Capa's life unfolds as the dramatic story of a principled, adventuresome wanderer with a camera who wished to tell stories through pictures. In war, he followed the infantry, not the big brass, and in his civilian photos, he chose to show the action of life rather than compose portraits. Not one for avoiding dangerous situations, he was the only photographer in the first wave at Normandy, snapping shots as soldiers fell around him. Using an elegant score and well-placed interviews with Capa's colleagues and friends, Makepeace crafts a richly textured, seamless story about an extraordinarily captivating man
The Weather Underground
TITLE: The Weather Underground
DIR/PROD: Sam Green and Bill Siegel / Christian Ettinger, Mary Harron, Sue Ellen McCann, Sam Green, Carrie Lozano, Bill Siegel, Marc Smolowitz
SOURCE: Sam Green San Francisco CA, 415 385 5880
TEXT: During the Vietnam War and the Nixon administration, a group of white-bread, upper-middle-class college students took up guns and explosives to plot the violent overthrow of the United States government. Sam Green and Bill Siegel's energetic and incendiary documentary, The Weather Underground, tracks the history of this radical political group, the Weathermen, and examines the psychology and politics which led its members to commit countless acts of terrorist activism. Through remarkable archival footage and interviews with members of the dissolved group, Green and Siegel follow the Weathermen from the group's origins as an offshoot of the Students for a Democratic Society to its planned activities, including the bombings of U.S. targets across the country and the liberation of Timothy Leary from prison. The film lays bare the mentality of the members to reveal how they justified their use of violence to achieve their revolutionary goals, what it was like to live in a parallel underground world, and how the isolation of that life ultimately induced their surrender. A cautionary tale for individuals and institutions in today's volatile times, The Weather Underground is a provocative examination of American white privilege, governmental reaction to political revolution, and the ethical dangers of taking up arms even from the vantage point of a moral high ground.
TITLE: American Splendor
DIR/PROD: Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini
SOURCE: Julia King, This is That Corp 417 Canal Street 4th Floor Ny Ny 10013
TEXT: An original mix of fiction and reality illuminates the life of comic book hero everyman Harvey Pekar by two Columbia Film School grads. CAST: Paul Giamatti, Hope Davis, Judah Friedlander. Harvey Pekar works at the VA hospital in his hometown of Cleveland and fills his days with reading, writing, listening to jazz, and engaging in cerebral banter. When his buddy Robert Crumb earns wide acclaim for comic art, Harvey is inspired to write his own brand of comic books, and he makes the monotonous torture of his everyday foibles their focus. American Splendor is hugely successful, but Harvey still finds his life lacking. Enter the equally depressive Joyce Brabner, and united in codependence, the pair tackles life together. Filmmaker team Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini blow up all rules of the biopic and find just the right cinematic voice for their subject. Using film, video, and animation, they ingeniously construct a structure in which images of the real-life Harvey are intercut with that of his onscreen persona, flawlessly recreated by Paul Giamatti. The result is seamless, effective and undeniably unique, and the animated sequences, like comics, add spunk and spontaneity. A film undertaking of this nature takes guts and skill, and this filmmaking team has both. As with Harvey's own creation, they have on their hand a truly one-of-a-kind creation.
Die Mommie Die
TITLE: Die Mommie Die
DIR/PROD: Mark Rucker
TIME: 90 35mm
SOURCE: Aviator Films. Dante@aviatorfilms.com 323-465-4400
TEXT: When the curtain rises on Angela Arden--ex-pop singer, mother, lover, and an amalgamation of every screen diva from 1940 to 1968--she is trapped in a hateful marriage with movie producer Sol Sussman, a Hollywood producer who throws punim and blintzes into his conversation. Her affair with out-of-work TV actor Tony Parker comes to a grinding halt when Sol returns from Europe earlier than expected. And when Daddy Sol suddenly dies (some confusion with a poisoned suppository), everyone gets into the act and almost everyone gets a piece of Tony, including Angela's electra-esque daughter and twisted gay son, who was thrown out of school for getting naked with the Math Department and a lazy susan turntable. This retro hybrid is the perfect vehicle for the hypertalented Charles Busch. The theater veteran transcends drag with his portrayal of Angela, filling the screen in Technicolor costumes, pursing his signature pouty lips, and engaging in tart repartee. Flanked by an all-star cast, Busch seems perfectly at home in Hollywood. Director Mark Rucker guides the production with style and flair, borrowing willy-nilly from cinematic traditions. The outcome is always hilarious, allowing the intrigue and sexual innuendo to hang in the air like expensive perfume. Yet he also allows his star to do what he does best: Busch never skips a beat and never misses a chance to lift an eyebrow or turn a phrase.
TITLE: BORN RICH
DIR/PROD: Jamie Johnson
TIME: 75 minutes
TEXT: In struggling to understand what it means to come into an enormous fortune as one of the heirs of the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical empire, 20-year-old director Jaime Johnson picks up his camera to talk to ten of his friends and gives us this remarkable personal documentary about one of the smallest and least-likely-to-agree-to-be-interviewed minorities on the planet: children of the vastly rich. Born Rich offers unprecedented access to the lives of kids who have names synonymous with wealth—Bloomberg, Newhouse, Whitney, Hornblower, Trump -- and allows them to discuss the one subject everybody in the world knows it's not polite to talk about in public: money. Few are involved in their family businesses. Through intimate interviews and vérité footage, Johnson's camera captures truths that forge an honest and revealing portrait of this small and protected group of people as they talk candidly about an upbringing made more complicated by people's conflicting ideas about wealth, their relationship to their inheritance, their plans for their fortunes, and their pervading anxiety over being "cut off." Fascinating and groundbreaking, Born Rich is ultimately a raw and warmhearted rumination on the responsibility of possessing vast resources which effectively demystifies the notion that wealth brings knowledge and the capability to accomplish anything. Johnson isn’t successful in getting his father to open up, he stops early before any penetrating questions are ever asked, and the director isn’t successful in telling a coherent story. But the audience does get an illuminating, at times too honest, glimpse at the thoughts of college aged kids who will inherit great wealth through the luck of their births. Included in the footage are interviews with S.I. Newhouse IV (fencer and student), Ivanka Trump (Penn student), Georgina Bloomberg (equestrian), Cody Franchetti, Josiah Hornblower, and Luke Weil. Weil is the most outrageous and makes for good film viewing, while Hornblower is the most earnest and sympathetic, although he seems to be medicated.
Boys of Second Street Park
TITLE: The Boys of 2nd Street Park
DIR/PROD: Dan Klores and Ron Berger
SOURCE: 310 – 273- 0194
TEXT: To the boys growing up in the Brighton Beach neighborhood in Brooklyn during the innocent 1950s, the local park was "like a magic kingdom, a fantasy land steeped with Brooklyn reality." It gave them a sense of belonging to an extended family. Fragrant summer evenings were filled with games of stickball, walks with their buddies or girlfriends on the oceanside boardwalk, and breath-stopping rides on the Cyclone at Coney Island. Dan Klores and Ron Berger's nostalgic documentary, The Boys of 2nd Street Park, recreates those simple, straightforward days and tracks what happened to a group of men whose sense of self was molded by their shared experiences in that neighborhood. Combining still photographs, home movies, and archival film footage with interviews with the boyhood friends today, the film charts the way their lives were dramatically impacted by the drugs and Vietnam War furor of the 1960s, and the different paths they've traveled since then. Steve fought drug addiction for 20 years, Lenny's family won the lottery, Bernie lost a Down's syndrome child to leukemia, Brian had to define his relationship with an illegitimate daughter, and nature-loving Larry moved to the country. As the old friends reunite in the park for a pickup basketball game, watched by current neighborhood boys, Klores and Berger offer us a celebration of the past and a promise for the future.
The Death of Klinghoffer
TITLE: The Death of Klinghoffer
DIR/PROD: Penny Woolcock / Madonna Baptiste
TEXT: When The Death of Klinghoffer, John Adams's opera based on the 1985 Palestinian hijacking of a cruise ship, premiered in the United States in 1991, it generated tremendous controversy. At one extreme, it was called a Zionist plot. At the other, the creators were denounced as unabashedly pro-Palestinian for humanizing the terrorists. In actual fact, the libretto gives voice to heartbreaking sufferings by both Israelis and Palestinians. A decade later, in the wake of unrelenting Middle East conflict, many see the opera's passionate exploration of terrorism from all viewpoints as more important than ever in stimulating dialogue about an intractable situation. Fueled by this idea, director Penny Woolcock created a consummate screen adaptation that imaginatively infuses the opera narrative with realism and dimensionality and makes a highbrow form accessible. Rather than simply record static stagings, she breaks down the proscenium arch, goes on location, and invites the camera into the heart of the action. To flesh out characters and context, she artfully layers in fictional narratives, archival footage, and flash forwards. With music by the London Symphony Orchestra as conducted by John Adams and opera singers delivering emotionally genuine, naturalistic performances, the film transcends opera-on-film to reach new cinematic heights. And no matter where you fall on the political spectrum, The Death of Klinghoffer will elicit heated discussion--and, quite possibly, tears
TITLE: The Nazi
DIR/PROD: Rod Lurie
TIME: 13 minutes 35mm
SOURCE: 818-753 9901, Battle Plan Productions
TEXT: Rod Lurie directs this short. Where does the act of forgiveness begin, where does it end, and who ultimately holds the power to forgive?
DIR/PROD: Michael Cuesta
SOURCE: New Yorker Video or
TEXT: Howie Blitzer, 15, who is called a Jew boy by some Dix Hills neighbors; he says “On the Long Island Expressway there are lanes going east, lanes going west, and lanes going straight to hell.” His mother Sylvia dies, his father Marty is indicted, a friend Gary vanishes… people keep leaving him, except for a pedophile who is after his ass. Howie must navigate his adolescence virtually unsupervised. Very difficult to watch, and for mature audiences only.
TITLE: Assisted living
DIR/PROD: Elliot Greenebaum
SOURCE: Elliot Greenebaum address: 240 E. Houston St. #3B New York, NY, USA 10002 phone: 212/358-0681 fax: 917/301-3740
TEXT: Assisted Living" tells the story of Todd, a nursing home janitor who spends his days getting high and enjoying the surrealism of resident life. Todd's detachment from his surroundings is compromised only by his unlikely friendship with Mrs. Pearlman, a resident whose degeneration is marked by an escalating preoccupation with Australian weather hazards. Todd's once-aloof involvement with Mrs. Pearlman's madness evolves until, one day, his compassion for her causes him to lose his job. Shot and staged completely within a real nursing home, "Assisted Living" gains much of its unique documentary effect and style from the participation of actual residents. SlamDance 2003. Winner of the Gand Prize at Slamdance, January 2003. Filmed in Greenebaum’s Kentucky hometown.
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
TITLE: Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
DIR/PROD: George Clooney
TEXT: The story of Charles Hirsch Barris, Wharton grad, and mastermind of television shows such as The Dating Game, The Newlywed Game, and The Gong Show. But did he spend his evenings as a CIA assassin? While Barris’ emergence from a dreary Jewish middle-class Philadelphia background to game-show fame is credible, his assertions (and the film’s depictions) that he was part of a CIA killing team might strike those familiar with spy games as bunk. Could the wiry little womanizing wiseguy from Philly, who penned the early ’60s hit 'Palisades Park,' really have murdered 33 people in such far-flung, intrigue-infested locales as Mexico and West Berlin? No matter. As deliciously interpreted by Sam Rockwell, Barris emerges as yet another apotheosis of the ambitious everyman making good as he generates entertainment garbage, until payback time. Caryn James, writing in The NYT, wrote, “In the imaginative film about his life, "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind," he is strolling by a pool on the grounds of the Playboy mansion when a beautiful naked swimmer recognizes him. Swimming toward him, she looks up seductively and purrs: "I think you're the most insidious, despicable force in entertainment today. How dare you subject the rest of the world to your loathsome views of humanity, to mock some poor lonely people who are just craving a little attention in their lives?" You'd think the poor guy had created "Fear Factor," but no. As his dream of a sex-filled evening turns into a nightmare, the woman sarcastically sums up his career. "Oh, yeah, you created `The Dating Game,' " she says. "That's right up there with the Sistine Chapel."
But the film is clear-sighted about Mr. Barris's television legacy. "The Dating Game," "The Newlywed Game" and "The Gong Show" were reality shows before the genre had been given that misleading label. (He created a raft of less memorable shows, too, like "How's Your Mother-in-Law.") From 1966, when the first date took place, to 1980, when the last gong sounded, Mr. Barris's shows were as popular and as vilified as "The Bachelor" and "Fear Factor" are today.
More Than Skin Deep
TITLE: More Than Skin Deep
DIR/PROD: David Gaynes
SOURCE: David Gaynes, 238 N Broadway Nyack, NY 10960-1619 (845)348-1998
TEXT: Six residents of The Jewish Home for the Elderly and their view of life. Documentary. Shown at Director’s View Film Festival, Norwalk CT, February 2003.
Today I Vote For My Joey
TITLE: Today I Vote For My Joey
DIR/PROD: Aviva Kempner
SOURCE: Aviva Kempner, Washington DC http://www.cieslafoundation.org/
TEXT: The Palm Beach Florida voters go to vote for Senator Lieberman. Their day is ruined when they find they mistakenly voted for their nemesis Pat Buchanan. Starring Lillian Adams, Eve Brenner, Rowena King, Eve Sigall, and Larry Gelman with a cameo by comedian Paul Provenza, the comic tragedy depicts a group of older Jews and a Haitian nurse kvelling before they vote for Joseph Lieberman, the first Jewish vice-presidential candidate, and their shock afterwards when they mistakenly voted for Buchanan and were denied proper access to the polls. “I want this film to be seen before the upcoming November election,” said Kempner, “to address the issue of unencumbered voting procedures.” Produced by the Ciesla Foundation, the film is being made under the auspices of the AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women. David Waldman is the director of photography. Shown at the DC Film Fest, May 2003
Raising the Sparks
TITLE: Raising the Sparks
DIR/PROD: Chuck Davis
TIME: 60 minute, video
TEXT: In this 60 minute video by Chuck Davis explores his own decision to return to the religion of his birth. After twenty years of Buddhist practice and the birth of his first son, Chuck Davis found himself with many questions about spirituality in midlife. He set out to discover a true spiritual path in his Jewish roots, one that he hoped he could authentically ask his sons to take on. In RAISING THE SPARKS we follow not only his exploration of the Jewish path, but of spirituality as a whole. Davis begins his journey with Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi – the founder of the Jewish Renewal Movement and the former wisdom chair at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. Over the course of the Jewish liturgical year, Rabbi Zalman acts as both guide and counselor in Davis’ quest. In this same year Davis also meets with Rabbis across Judaism’s spectrum. He engages them in provocative discussions about the issues that have kept him at a distance from his birth religion: the importance and relevance of Hebrew and the Torah, Jewish meditation, the place of prayer in secular life – the problems and possibilities of inter-faith marriage and the need for the Jewish laws in a post modern world. Featuring Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi with: Rabbis Jonathan Omer-man, Tirzah Firestone, David Zeller, Marcia Prager, Michael Lerner, Ted Falcon, Daniel Siegel and others. Rabbi Michael Lerner liked it, you will, too.
The Last Letter
TITLE: The Last Letter
DIR/PROD: Frederick Wiseman
LANGUAGE: IN FRENCH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES
SOURCE: Zipporah Films. Karen Konicek, One Richdale Avenue #4, Cambridge, MA 02140
617-576-3603 fax: 617-864-8006 E-mail: email@example.com www.Zipporah.com
TEXT: Famed documentarian Frederick Wiseman adapts a chapter from Russian novelist Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate in which he imagines a letter written in 1941 by an elderly Jewish woman, a physician living in a small Ukrainian village that has fallen to the Nazis. Catherine Samie, a member of the Comédie-Française, interprets this exquisitely beautiful, heartfelt communication from a mother to her grown son, imbuing the language with delicate nuance and feeling. Leslie Camhi, writing in The Nation, calls the film “brilliant” and describes it thus: “Visuals reminiscent of German Expressionist film — the actress’s physiognomy and the shadows surrounding her figure — combine with the pure power of language to conjure up the lost world of the ghetto… Using these subtle and minimalist means, Wiseman’s film builds to an emotionally devastating conclusion.” WITH SUPPORT FROM THE JOAN S. CONSTANTINER FUND FOR JEWISH AND HOLOCAUST FILMS. Writing in The New York Times, ALAN RIDING, wrote, “Now one of France's most admired stage actresses, Catherine Samie was barely 10 when she accompanied her mother in leading Jews along mountain paths to escape from Nazi-occupied France into Switzerland. They would go ahead, so that if stopped, the Jews could flee. But one night near the Swiss border, she recalled, a Jewish mother and her child were intercepted by a German patrol. "I'll remember all my life," she said, her eyes suddenly moist with the memory. "The mother shouted to her child, `Run, run, run,' and the Swiss customs man shouted, `Come here, come, come, come to me.' I will never forget." She paused, then added, "And I didn't even see the horrors they must have then suffered." This was just one of many painful wartime memories that resurfaced when, almost 60 years later, Ms. Samie was asked by the American filmmaker Frederick Wiseman to read "The Last Letter," Chapter 18 of Vasily Grossman's powerful novel, "Life and Fate." In it this Russian writer gives voice to a Jewish woman addressing her faraway son as she awaits certain death in a Jewish ghetto in German-occupied Ukraine. "When I first read it, I was — every phrase made me cry," Ms. Samie said in a recent interview. "I was filled with immeasurable sorrow. I was surprised to be asked to read it, to try to say it aloud, because I am Catholic, I am not Jewish. But it's true, I knew the war very well." From this meeting of actress and text came Mr. Wiseman's staging of "The Last Letter," with Ms. Samie, now the 70-year-old doyenne of the Comédie-Française, speaking Grossman's lines dressed in black with a yellow star on her chest, accompanied only by shadows. The French-language production was acclaimed in France and in the United States and Canada, where it toured briefly in mid-2001. Now Mr. Wiseman, best known as a documentary filmmaker, has adapted the stage version to the screen. In "The Last Letter" Grossman tried to imagine his own mother's final communication with him before she became one of 30,000 people, mostly Jews, who were massacred by German soldiers in his native town, Berdichev in Ukraine, in the fall of 1941. The letter to Vitya, the son of the novel, became his way of reaching out to her. Grossman devoted years to writing "Life and Fate," and as soon he completed it in 1960 it was seized by the K.G.B. He begged the authorities to release it, but, Grossman later told a friend, the Soviet ideologist Mikhail A. Suslov told him, "Perhaps it will be published in two or three hundred years." Grossman died in 1964. "Life and Fate," eventually published in Russian in Switzerland in 1980, is now considered a classic of modern Russian literature. The power of "The Last Letter" comes in many ways from its ordinariness; that is, the mother, who is a doctor, recounts how in a matter of days the Jews in her town were herded into a ghetto. She is surprised to be reminded "that I was a Jew": reminded not only by German soldiers shouting, "Juden kaput," but also by neighbors she once considered friends. The vagaries of human behavior both fascinate and disgust her. "There are people whose souls have just withered," she says of some "who cringe like lackeys" before the Germans. Then there are those consumed by greed. "Two women began arguing in front of me about which of them would have my chairs and which my writing desk," she tells Vitya. But a few come to her aid. She is struck that even in the ghetto as death becomes ever more likely, people go about their daily existence. She, too, continues her rounds as a doctor, but she feels different. "I'm used to looking into people's eyes for symptoms of diseases — glaucoma, cataract," she writes. "Now I can no longer look at people's eyes like that; what I see now is the reflection of the soul." Only as her death approaches does she summon Vitya to accompany her. "Now, Vitya, I'm seized at night by a horror that makes my heart grow numb. I'm about to die. I want to call out to you for help." And she goes on, "I want you to be strong and wise; I want you to protect and defend me." She then spells out where deep ditches are being dug: Romanovka. "Remember that name, Vitya — that's where you'll find the mass grave where your mother is buried." Such is the accumulated power of the text that Ms. Samie said she felt it essential to contain the mother's grief, "despite the tears, to keep it here," she said, placing her hand on her chest. "It was necessary to stylize the pain," she went on. "You can't have, `I suffer, we suffer,' hysterically. It would be indecent." Instead, as much as through her voice, the story is told through her austerely beautiful face and hands. Concretely, in close-ups, the film can dwell intimately on her face and her hand. "When you're watching the play, you see everything," Mr. Wiseman explained. "In the movie you can be more directional about what you want the audience to look at. If you're sitting in more than the third row of the theater, it's very hard to see her face." … For Ms. Samie, the experience was nonetheless exhausting because, she said, between takes she had to retain the intensity of her character. "You may have done what you thought was a perfect take and there is some technical problem, but you can't let go," she said. "For me, it wasn't acting. It was a testimony."
P.S. Your Cat Is Dead
TITLE: P.S. Your Cat Is Dead
DIR/PROD: Steve Guttenberg
TEXT: Neurotic, Jewish Jimmy (Steve Guttenberg) and Kate (Cynthia Watros) are in the middle of a break-up and completely oblivious to the fact that they're being robbed...by a gay guy. Kate splits, leaving Jimmy alone in the house with the Latino burglar (Lombardo Boyar). It’s New Years Eve, they confront one another, and suddenly Jimmy's wondering if he's really attracted to the burglar instead of his girlfriend.
Prisoner of paradise
TITLE: Prisoner of paradise
DIR/PROD: Malcolm Clarke and Stuart Sender
TEXT: Nominated in March 2003 for an Oscar for Best Documentary feature length film. Its central character is Kurt Gerron, a popular Jewish entertainer in pre-Hitler Berlin, who directed a Nazi film about Theresienstadt and was later murdered in Auschwitz. directed by Malcolm Clarke and Stuart Sender, is the stunning true story of Kurt Gerron, a well-known and successful German-Jewish actor, director and cabaret star, who was sent to a concentration camp and ordered by his captors to direct a pro-Nazi propaganda film. This film, which came to be known as The Fuhrer Gives A City to the Jews, was intended by the Nazis to persuade an increasingly suspicious world that Jews who had been 'relocated,' from across Europe were being well-treated in their new homes… the concentration camps. Gerron, best known for singing "Mack the Knife" in the original Threepenny Opera and co-starring with the legendary Marlene Dietrich in The Blue Angel, was handpicked by the Nazis. Reluctant at first, Gerron would ultimately throw himself into his work, labouring diligently to create a tiny jewel out of his appalling circumstances, all while knowing the terrible realities of life inside the camp. Shot on location in Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam and Prague, Prisoner of Paradise follows Gerron's career and remarkable odyssey, offering a unique perspective on this extraordinary period.
Nowhere in Africa
TITLE: Nowhere in Africa
DIR/PROD: Carline Link / Peter Herrmann
LANGUAGE: German with English ST
SOURCE: An MTM Medien & Television München Production, see www.zeitgeist.com Zeitgeist Films
TEXT: Recipient of for Best Foreign Language Oscar, March 2003. The struggles of a German Jewish refugee family in the 1930s to adapt to life in Kenya. A love story spanning two continents, NOWHERE IN AFRICA is the extraordinary true tale of a Jewish family who flees the Nazi regime in 1938 for a remote farm in Kenya. Abandoning their once-comfortable existence in Germany, Walter Redlich, his wife Jettel (Juliane Köhler, of AIMÉE AND JAGUAR) and their five-year-old daughter Regina each deal with the harsh realities of their new life in different ways. Attorney Walter is resigned to working the farm as a caretaker; pampered Jettel resists adjustment at every turn; while the shy yet curious Regina immediately embraces the country-learning the local language and customs, and finding a friend in Owuor, the farm's cook. As the war rages on the other side of the world, the trio's relationships to their strange environment become increasingly complicated as Jettel grows more self-assured and Walter more haunted by the life they left behind. As they eventually learn to cherish their life in Africa, they also endeavor to find a way back to each other. Winner of five 2002 Golden Lola (German Film) Awards, including best film, director and cinematography, NOWHERE IN AFRICA was written and directed by Caroline Link (whose BEYOND SILENCE was nominated for a 1996 Best Foreign Film Oscar), and based on the best-selling autobiographical novel by Stephanie Zweig. Stefanie Zweig was born in Leobschutz, Upper Silesia, in 1932. In 1938 she and her parents fled to Kenya, as a result of the Nazi persecution of Jews. Her father, a lawyer and notary public, worked as a manager on a farm and earned just enough to finance his daughter's education. The family spent most of its stay in Ol Joro Orok, situated directly at the Equator-3,000 meters above sea level. It was a very remote place, even for Africa. In 1944 Stefanie Zweig's father enlisted in the British Army which also enabled him and his family to return to Germany in 1947. Upon their return, they were shocked by so much destruction, hunger and despair. Stefanie, who couldn't read or write German, had problems adjusting to this alien world. However, after graduating from high school she worked as a journalist for a Jewish newspaper. In 1963 she became the chief editor of the culture section of the Abendpost-Nachtausgabe in Frankfurt. She has been working as a freelance journalist and author since 1988. She has written numerous novels, which have won many awards and prizes, and her autobiographical novels NOWHERE IN AFRICA and SOMEWHERE IN GERMANY turned into bestsellers. In 1993, Stefanie Zweig received the Decoration of Merit by the Federal Republic of Germany.
TITLE: Hey Arnold
TEXT: The Nickleodeon character, Arnold, in a feature length film. Arnold and his friends fight the development plans of Scheck, a descendant of Alphonse Perrier du Von Scheck. In a harrowing bus chase scene, Gerald, the African American character with the large afro recites a Hebrew prayer when fear overcomes him. Main synopsis from Amazon: Adapted from the popular Nickelodeon show, this feature continues the adventures of the blithely cheerful, football-headed Arnold (voice by Spencer Klein) on the big screen. When corrupt developer Schek (Paul Sorvino) threatens to buy the run-down urban neighborhood where Arnold lives, he and his best friend Gerald (Jamil Smith) rally the neighbors to keep their homes from being turned into a mega-mall. After their peaceful efforts fail, they turn to espionage in a spoof of Men in Black and other action films. Hey Arnold! suffers from the same difficulty as many theatrical features spawned from TV cartoons: the characters have to solve a problem that's too big. The James Bond-style gadgetry and car chases don't fit into the slightly skewed vision of fourth-grade life that made the series popular. The limited animation and awkward designs will work better in the video release. Rated PG for cartoon violence
TITLE: Moments, Israel
DIR/PROD: Various (17 directors)
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: 56 minutes
TEXT: Seventeen three-minute films about life in Israel today. Ordinary people, with ordinary lives, attempt to bring order and reason to the chaos and madness of their existence. See Miamifilmfestival.com
The Nazi Officer’s Wife
TITLE: The Nazi Officer’s Wife
DIR/PROD: Liz Garbus
TEXT: An almost novel-like documentary memoir of the remarkable life of Edith Hahn, a precocious young Jewish student in Vienna who survived the Holocaust by a ruse of the most audacious daring. Miamifilmfestival.com
TITLE: Under Water
DIR/PROD: Abba Shahor Lavan
TIME: 90 minutes in 35mm
SOURCE: firstname.lastname@example.org Tamuz Productions, Tel Aviv
TEXT: Michal is a good swimmer, but never won a race. Her swim club teammates and her coach are cold towards her. Michal’s mother is dating a new man, and her father, once a great swimmer, abandoned the family years ago to become an Orthodox Jew. He lives with his new wife and two young children. Michal’s only confidant is Dror, a boy who is madly in love with her and wants to paint her portrait if only she would allow him. When Michael sees her father after several years at a funeral, she yearns to meet him. And he wants to see her as well, so they begin to meet each other. There meetings become more frequent and he invites her to his home for lunch. At lunch, Michal realizes the gulf between their life choices, one secular, another filled with stringent religious rules. She then forces her father to face… Berlin International Film Festival, February 2003.
EER LELO RAHAMIM / A City with no Pity
TITLE: EER LELO RAHAMIM / A City with no Pity
DIR/PROD: Tsipi Reibenbach
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w/ English ST
TIME: 65 minutes
SOURCE: Berlin Intnl Film Fest, February 2003
DIR/PROD: Asher de Bentolila Tlalim
COUNTRY: Israel, UK
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w/ English ST
TIME: 150 minutes
SOURCE: Berlin Film Fest 2003
Pepe’s Watch / Ha Sha-on Shel Pepe
TITLE: Pepe’s Watch / Ha Sha-on Shel Pepe
DIR/PROD: Michael Peretz
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w/ English ST
SOURCE: Berlin Film Fest 2003
TEXT: with Gil Permon, Nelly Amar, Gil Ben-David. Dudu refuses to wear a swank new suit at his birthday, so his mom calls everything off. Dudu asks his mother not to come into his room in her bra, and she slaps him. Then Dudu loses the watch his deceased father gave to him. He does everything in his power now to keep his mom from finding out that he lost the watch. A children’s film.
TITLE: INNOCENT CRIMINALS
DIR/PROD: Udi Aloni
COUNTRY: USA, Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w/ English ST
TIME: 5 minutes
SOURCE: Berlin Film Festival
TEXT: with Tammer Naffar, Aviv Geffen. Tamer Naffar, a Palestinian rapper has coined the term, “innocent criminals”, to describes Palestinians who are exiles in their own land. Three Palestinians and Three Jewish Israelis work together on a hip hop video. This film conjures up the image of a covert group working a language for more peaceful times.
LOCAL ANGEL - THEOLOGICAL POLITICAL FRAGMENTS
TITLE: LOCAL ANGEL - THEOLOGICAL POLITICAL FRAGMENTS
DIR/PROD: Udi Aloni
COUNTRY: USA, Israel
TIME: 70 minutes
SOURCE: email@example.com 529 west 20th street, ny ny 10011
212 645 5947
TEXT: With the feel of a music video, Udi Aloni, the son of Shulamit Aloni, Israel’s famed left wing former education minister and political leader, interviews Jewish and Palestinian thinkers. See www.UdiAloni.com
TITLE: MISS ENTEBBE
DIR/PROD: Omri Levy
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w/ English ST
TEXT: with Meirav Abrahami, Yigal Naor, Meirav Gruber. A children’s film. Set against the the Entebbe hijacking, Noa discovers that her friend’s mother is a hostage. She and her friends kidnap a neighboring Palestinian boy. His father and his Jewish friends search for him and Noa and her four friends bond with their captive.
DIR/PROD: Eran Merav
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w/ English ST
SOURCE: Sam Spiegel School of Film
TEXT: with Shlomi Avraham, Tamara Avshalom. Natti has a cognitive dissonance. He is at boarding school, and thinks he is fairly popular. He sells Lemon popsicles on the highway. But his so called friends haze him all day and all night long, creating a level of rage in the audience if not the character. Then he meets the girl of his dreams, and then finds out what people really think of him. Shown at the Tribeca Film Festival, May 2003
Klezmer On Fish Street
TITLE: Klezmer On Fish Street
SOURCE: Yale Strom, Elizabeth Schwartz BlackStream Films 350 Cabrini Blvd. Apt 2G New York, NY 10040 Tel: 212-781-9192 Fax: 212-781-9186 firstname.lastname@example.org
TEXT: “Klezmer On Fish Street” looks at the ironic revival of Jewish life in Poland 60 years after the Holocaust on the heels of klezmer music has been awarded the Special Grand Jury Selection Award for best film, 2003 Palm Beach Int'l Film Festival
94 Years and 1 Nursing Home Later
TITLE: 94 Years and 1 Nursing Home Later
DIR/PROD: Laurel Greenberg
TEXT: a personal documentary called "94 Years and 1 Nursing Home Later" has screened at over a dozen festivals, has won 3 Best Doc awards, 1 Best of Festival award, and has been broadcast on PBS. The website for the film is: www.94Years.com. 94 Years and 1 Nursing Home Later begins when filmmaker Laurel Greenberg watches some home movies that her father shot of his mother in a nursing home in Philadelphia. "Do you like it here?" Marvin asks his mother Belle. Her weak smile and feigned enthusiasm seem to satisfy Marvin, yet are disturbing to Laurel, who sets out to uncover her grandmother's true feelings. An immigrant from Russia, Belle Greenberg built her life around caring for her family. How did she come to be alone and isolated from this family at the end of her life? Through intimate scenes that draw in the viewer, Greenberg depicts the struggle to balance personal needs with familial responsibility, fragmenting of families across the country, and the difficult evolution of the caretaker parent to dependent elder. 7 Halifax St. Boston, MA 02130 617-983-1177 www.94Years.com Laurel.Greenberg@alumni.brown.edu
18 Levontin St TelAviv Israel
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