Jewish Film Archive Online
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Loving Leah

TITLE: Loving Leah
YEAR: 2009
DIR/PROD: Jeff Bleckner / Ricki Lake, Brent Shields, Michael Besman
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 120 minutes
SOURCE: CBS TV (USA), Hallmark Hall of Fame Productions
TEXT: A Hallmark Hall of Fame production for television stars Lauren Ambrose as Leah and Adam Kaufman as Jake Lever. Susie Essman is Malka and Mercedes Ruehl is Janiace. Filmed in DC and Brooklyn. A first rate cast. A romantic comedy about a young doctor who is asked, based on a very ancient Jewish custom (onan), to wed his late brother's widow. It is a mismatched relationship. Adam is a successful cardiologist with a non Jewish gf. His brother, a rabbi, dies, but must Adam marry Leah, his childless widow, to carry on the Kaufman genetic line?? Adam goes through the spitting ceremony so as not to have a Lerverite marriage, but stops it and agrees to marry her (so he can just divorce her later, eight?) So, Leah moves to DC to be with Adam and to escape an overbearing mother. And then... Funny item: The original title was "UNORTHODOX" but it was deemed insentitiuve.

Cadillac Records

TITLE: Cadillac Records
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Darnell Martin
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 108
SOURCE: Tristar
TEXT: Cadillac Records is a 2008 American musical biopic written and directed by Darnell Martin. The film explores the musical era from the early 1940s to the late 1960s, chronicling the life of the influential Chicago-based record-company executive Leonard Chess, and the singers who recorded for Chess Records. The film stars Adrien Brody as Chess, Cedric the Entertainer as Willie Dixon, Mos Def as Chuck Berry, Columbus Short as Little Walter, Jeffrey Wright as Muddy Waters, and Beyoncé Knowles as Etta James. The film was released in North America on December 5, 2008 by TriStar Pictures. Leonard Chess was a record-company executive from Chicago, Illinois, the co-founder of the 1950s American record label Chess Records. He ran the legendary company with his brother, Phil, through the 1950s and '60s. The label started selling albums from the back of Chess' Cadillac, and launched the careers of legendary musical personalities such as blues singers and harmonica and guitar players Little Walter and Howlin' Wolf, blues musician Muddy Waters, soul legend Etta James and guitarist singer-songwriters Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley.

The Reader

TITLE: The Reader
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Stephen Daldry
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME:
SOURCE:
TEXT: Based on a novel by Bernhard Schlink, who once taught at Yeshiva University's Cardozo Law School in Manhattan. The film opens in 1958 in West Germany when teenager Michael Berg becomes ill and is helped home by Hanna Schmitz, a stranger twice his age. Michael recovers from scarlet fever and seeks out Hanna to thank her. The two are quickly drawn into a passionate but secretive sexual affair. Michael discovers that Hanna loves being read to and their physical relationship deepens. He must read to her post coitus. Hanna is enthralled as Michael reads to her from "The Odyssey," "Huck Finn" and "The Lady with the Little Dog." Then she disappears. We meet Michael 8 years later, when Berg is a law student and observing the Nazi war crime trials. Hanna is a defendant. As Hanna's past is revealed, Michael uncovers a deep secret that will impact both of their lives. The Reader is about the sexual or guilt relationship between the German old and young generations, about what is truth and about reconciliation. It is about different views towards justice.

Spielzeugland Toyland

TITLE: Speilzeugland Toyland
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Jochen Freydank
COUNTRY: Germany
LANGUAGE: German with English ST
TIME: 14
SOURCE: Georg Gruber Magnet Film Rheinsberger Str. 38 Berlin 10435 Germany Phone: +49 163-8010753 georg.gruber@magnetfilm.de www.magnetfilm.de
TEXT: Received Oscar for Best Short Live Action - February 22, 2009. Two boys must end their joint piano lessons when the Jewish boy must be sent away to a death camp> The mother of the other boy tells her son that the Jewish boy went to "Toyland." Heinrich does not want his Jewish friend to leave, since they are blood brothers. Then the film cuts to a scene of the mother running through the street. Heinrich, her son, has run away to Toyland and has been mistakenly placed on the train. Engrossing.

Alien VI / Obcy VI

TITLE: Alien Vi / Obcy Vi
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Borys Lankosz
COUNTRY: Poland
LANGUAGE: Polish w/ English ST
TIME: 30
SOURCE:
TEXT: When a young Jewish man appears in a quiet Polish village years after WWII and memories have faded, the villagers react, and reflect on their own abivalent attitudes toward the collective memory of the village

The Morse Collectors

TITLE: The Morse Collectors
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: David Cooke
COUNTRY: UK
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 16
SOURCE:
TEXT: Sounds hold a special interest. A brother and sister await news about their father, a solider during WWII. Then dots and dashes of Morse Code are heard in the house. They become words, and the children learn that messages have more meaning than they imagined.

On The Road To Tel Aviv

TITLE: On The Road To Tel Aviv
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Khen Shalem
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew w/ English ST
TIME: 18
SOURCE:
TEXT: Winner of Audience Favorite Live Action Short at Palm Springs January 2009. It is just another day in Israel as a young woman and her fiance head for the bus she'll be taking to Tel Aviv ti return to the University and her coursework. But this is no ordinary day and Israel is no ordinary place.

The Wall

TITLE: The Wall
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Michael Lloyd Green
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 9
SOURCE:
TEXT: Two residents of a tenement whose apartments share an adjoining wall also share a strong common link, though they have never met, and come from very different backgrounds.

With A Little Patience (Turelem)

TITLE: With a Little Patience / Turelem
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Laszlo Nemes
COUNTRY: Hungary
LANGUAGE: None. No Dialogue
TIME: 14
SOURCE:
TEXT: A darling of the Venice Film Festival, tells us everything we need to know about an anonymous young woman who works at an obscure office, without the aid of any direct dialogue

Gaza Sderot, Life In Spite of Everything

TITLE: Gaza Sderot, Life In Spite of Everything
YEAR: 2009
DIR/PROD: Alexandre Brachet / Serge Gordey
COUNTRY: France
LANGUAGE: French, English, German, Arabic, and Hebrew
TIME: 52 minutes
SOURCE: upian.com
TEXT: A Web based doc won the Europa Award at the Berlin Fest in 2009, and appeared at SXSW in March 2009. Over 10 weeks, two teams recorded 2 minute slices of life from the POV of 7 Israelis and 7 Palestnians living in Gaza and in Sderot, just prior to the December fighting. Vieers could watch the webcasts in split screen in 5 different languages. The film was produced for $276,000 by Arte, Alma Films (Tel Aviv), Trabelsi Productions (Tel Aviv), Ramattan Studios (Gaza) Bo Travail (Paris) and Upian.com (Paris). To be shown on Channel 8 in Israel in 2009

Defamation

TITLE: Defamation
YEAR: 2009
DIR/PROD: Yoav Shamir
COUNTRY: Israel Austria US Denmark
LANGUAGE: English / German
TIME: 93
SOURCE: http://www.defamation-thefilm.com/html/home_english.html
TEXT: What is anti-Semitism today, two generations after the Holocaust? In his continuing exploration of modern Israeli life, director Yoav Shamir (Checkpoint, 5 Days, Flipping Out) travels the world in search of the most modern manifestations of the "oldest hatred", and comes up with some startling answers. In this irreverent quest, he follows American Jewish leaders to the capitals of Europe, as they warn government officials of the growing threat of anti-Semitism, and he tacks on to a class of Israeli high school students on a pilgrimage to Auschwitz. On his way, Shamir meets controversial historian, Norman Finkelstein, who offers his unpopular views on the manner that anti-Semitism is being used by the Jewish community and especially Israel for political gain. He also joins scholars, Stephen M. Walt and John J. Mearsheimer, while they give a lecture in Israel following the release of their book "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy", about the un-proportional influence the Israel lobby in Washington enjoys. Yoav visits Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem, the must stop for all world leaders on their visits to Israel. While in Jerusalem, he drops by the house of his grandmother that offers her insight on the issue and declares that she is the "real Jew". The film questions our perceptions and terminology when an event proclaimed by some as anti-Semitic is described by others as legitimate criticism of Israel's government policies. The film walks along the boundary between anti-Zionism, rejecting the notion of a Jewish State, and anti-Semitism, rejecting Jews. Is the former being used to excuse the latter? And is there a difference between today's anti-Semitism and plain old racism that is affecting all minorities? Opinions often differ and tempers sometimes flare, but in Defamation we find that one thing is certain - only by understanding their response to anti-Semitism can we really appreciate how Jews today, and especially modern Israelis, respond to the world around them, in New York and in Moscow, in Gaza and Tel Aviv.

Blessed is the Match; The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh

TITLE: Blessed is the Match; The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Roberta Grossman
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME:
SOURCE: http://www.blessedisthematch.com/
TEXT: Narrated by Joan Allen, Blessed Is the Match is the first documentary feature about Hannah Senesh, the World War II-era poet and diarist who became a paratrooper, resistance fighter and modern-day Joan of Arc. Safe in Palestine in 1944, Hannah joined a mission to rescue Jews in her native Hungary. Shockingly, it was the only military rescue mission for Jews during the Holocaust. Hannah parachuted behind enemy lines, was captured, tortured and ultimately executed by the Nazis. Incredibly, her mother Catherine witnessed the entire ordeal - first as a prisoner with Hannah and later as her advocate, braving the bombed-out streets of Budapest in a desperate attempt to save her daughter. With unprecedented access to the Senesh family archive, and through interviews, eyewitness accounts and the prolific writings of Hannah and Catherine Senesh, Blessed Is the Match recreates Hannah's mission and imprisonment. The film explores Hannah's childhood against the backdrop of significant historical events resulting in a rich portrait with several interlocking strands. The film shows British-controlled Palestine and explores how the Kibbutz Movement drew Hannah and other idealistic Jews there in the hopes of building a Jewish state. Israeli President Shimon Peres, who knew Hannah as a young pioneer in the 1940s, appears on camera. Blessed Is the Match retraces the perilous mission of Hannah and 31 other Jewish-Palestinian parachutists. Two of Hannah's fellow parachutists, Reuven Dafni and Surika Braverman, along with renowned historian Sir Martin Gilbert, appear on camera and recount the mission's aims, successes and failures. Finally, through Hannah's diary entries and poetry - and through her correspondence with her mother - Blessed Is the Match looks back on the life of a uniquely talented and complex girl who came of age in a world descending into madness. 'God, may there be no end,' Hannah writes in her 1942 poem Eli Eli, ...to sea, to sand, water's splash, lightning's flash. The prayer of man.'

I Love You, Man

TITLE: I Love You, Man
YEAR: 2009
DIR/PROD: John Hamburg
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 104 minutes
SOURCE: Parmaount
TEXT: Peter Klaven (Paul Rudd) is about to get married and has no Best Man or Bro, and is a wuss. It is surprising that he doesn't use tampons. He is set up with guys to be a man friend by his gay brother ( ). He ends up with totally secure man, Sydney Fife (Sydney with a Y), played by Jason Segel.

$9.99

TITLE: $9.99
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Tatia Rosenthal
COUNTRY: Israel/Australia
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: 78
SOURCE: Regent Releasing. Shown at New Directors / New Film MoMA NYC 2009 http://www.9dollars99movie.com/
TEXT: Dave Peck is an almost-30, out-of-work dreamer living in urban anonymity with his father. He fantasizes about discovering the meaning of life, and when he hears of a book offering to reveal that mystery for "the low price of $9.99," he believes the answers may be at hand. Though the scope of his world is limited to the neighbors in his building (a widower with a cranky guardian angel; a down-on-his-luck magician; a seductive woman; a newly single man; and a rebellious little boy), he quickly discovers that the complexities of life can't be arranged in the pages of a discount book.
Based on the work of acclaimed writer Etgar Keret (who also served as co-writer), $9.99 employs stop-motion animation in a highly visual exploration of urban disillusionment and dreams deferred.
Director Tatia Rosenthal's stop motion filmmaking offers audiences artistic and psychological depths not available via a live action treatment of the same material. "It's funny, it's sad, and its made of silicon," she says. "Your puppet is not going to have the hundreds of muscles that people have to express themselves with. They have a jaw that can go up and down, an eyebrow that goes up and down, eyes that move, and that's it. I think sometimes the instinct would be to perform the part with symbolic gesture. 'Oh, I'm sad.' or 'Oh, I'm so happy.' A physical sign language that becomes symbols for those emotions rather than the actual expressions of them, the opposite of the subtlety of acting. [And] it was important for us that we make a realistic film." Rosenthal describes the making of stop motion animation - particularly under a condition of limited budget, tight schedule - as being itself an act of live performance. Even with years of development behind the script and months of pre-production, the logistics of stop motion requires shots to unfold in a linear progression, frame to frame. Days, even weeks, pass between "Action!" and "Cut." Unlike computer animated or drawn animation, resetting the conditions of a shot in $9.99 to a previous position for a "re-shoot" can be next to impossible. Rosenthal faced unrelenting pressure as she committed herself and her team to bold risks over the course of an exhausting forty-week production period - an experience she doubts she could have survived without "the sheer discipline of dealing with so much stress for two years of army training."

Beau Jest

TITLE: Neau Jest
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: James Sherman
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 90
SOURCE:
TEXT: Set in sunny Chicago, Beau Jest tells a hilarious, heart-warming tale of white lies and pretence. Sarah Goldman wants to hide from her traditional parents the fact that she is dating a non-Jewish guy, so hires an actor to pretend he is her Jewish boyfriend. From their first Shabbat dinner at her parents home, through a series of Jewish events - a Bar Mitzvah, a Passover Seder - the deception becomes ever more difficult to sustain, even as Sarah's 'boyfriend' wins over her parents. Then real romance gets in the way. This contemporary comedy will have you rolling in the aisles and wiping tears from your eyes at the same time. Directed by James Sherman and starring well known actress Lainie Kazan

Empty Nest - El Nido Vacío

TITLE: Empty Nest - El Nido Vacío
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Daniel Burman
COUNTRY: Argentina/Spain/France/Italy
LANGUAGE: Spanish/Hebrew with English subtitles
TIME: 91
SOURCE: http://www.elnidovacio.com/
TEXT: Filmed in beautiful Buenos Aires and partly in Israel, Empty Nest provides a glimpse into the changing life of couples when their children grow up and leave the house. With humor and subtlety, the film asks serious questions about how both parents deal with the changes in their lives. What will they do with the extra time? How will they use the extra rooms in the house? Will they travel? Will they return to school? Will they make new friends? Get closer to each other or drift further apart? These questions are explored through the pen of Leonardo, a successful writer portrayed by famed Argentinean actor Oscar Martinez, whose imagination helps him and his wife find some answers in this tender, poignant, and thoroughly enjoyable film.

Hidden Children - L'affaire Finaly

TITLE: Hidden Children - L'affaire Finaly
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Fabrice Genestal
COUNTRY: France
LANGUAGE: French with English subtitles
TIME: 90
SOURCE: Marie-Laure Hébrard AB Droits Audiovisuels, Marie-Laure Hébrard, 132, avenue du Président Wilson, BP 95, 93213 La Plaine-Saint-Denis Cedex, France Tel: +33 (0)1 4922 2252 Fax: +33 (0)1 4922 2216 E-mail: marie-laure.hebrard@groupe-ab.fr
TEXT: A docudrama based on true events, this is the gripping, unrelenting story of two young Jewish brothers left by their parents, prior to their deportation to the death camps, in the care of a devout Catholic woman in Nazi occupied France. After the war, the Finaly boys' surviving relatives tried to regain custody, but their French guardian refused and illicitly baptized them thereby implicating the Catholic Church in the matter. The boys' subsequent ordeal became the stuff of popular outrage and political scandal that shook the country. The film follows their improbable journey through years of political and legal intrigue, with more twists and turns than fiction. A profound exploration of one family's struggle against powerful forces, this film is also a searing exposé of the still difficult relationship between the Catholic Church and Jews. Starring Charlotte de Turckheim.

Nymphs in the Mist

TITLE: Nymphs in the Mist
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Yoram Sachs
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English subtitles
TIME: 81
SOURCE:
TEXT: In this new Israeli comedy by Yoram Sachs, life imitates art when Yaniv, in a perpetual sulk ever since his girlfriend Liat left him, settles into a comical routine that alternates between his job at a video store, watching romantic comedies, and constant thoughts of Liat. Yuda, his best friend, tries to break this cycle by persuading Yaniv to make a movie as a way to meet single women. The lack of a script is no obstacle as Yaniv, taking his new role as film-maker seriously, writes the perfect movie... about his break-up with Liat! But how will the plot evolve after Yaniv gets to know Gali, his seductive yoga instructor? Life and art intertwine when Yaniv casts Gali in the title role of his old flame Liat. Now, with a film deal in the works, an evolving script, and increasingly complicated romantic relationships, all Yaniv needs to do is write the perfect ending.

Cheftzi on Air

TITLE: Cheftzi on Air
YEAR: 2005
DIR/PROD:
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English St
TIME: 18 minutes
SOURCE:
TEXT: A short drama. Chefzi is a religious radio broadcaster who offers romantic advice to her single, religious female callers. One night, she decides to take her own advice, and proposes marriage on live radio to her boyfriend Yonatan. To Chefzi's surprise, her theories don't work in practice and her world begins to collapse. Actors: Maya Greenberg, Yonatan Uziel, Hila Goshen, Iris Pan, Michal Mendelovich.

Refusenik

TITLE: Refusenik
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Laura Bialis
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 117
SOURCE:
TEXT: Directed by Laura Bialis this is the first retrospective documentary to chronicle the movement to free Soviet Jews. Refusenik shows how a small grassroots effort launched a global human rights campaign that went on to successfully challenge a Cold War superpower. In the process, it earned the respect of many world leaders and oppressed minorities everywhere. Featuring exclusive film footage, including interviews with well-known (and lesser known) refuseniks and those who worked tirelessly on their behalf on both sides of the Iron Curtain, this important film documents a major event in Jewish history. With a million and a half Jews having left the Soviet Union by 1992, the decades of struggle to free Soviet Jewry proved to be among the most successful human rights campaigns in history. This engrossing film shows just how it happened.

Sharon

TITLE: Sharon
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD:
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: 90
SOURCE:
TEXT: Documentary. Best Documentary Berlin International Film Festival, Warsaw Jewish Film Festival. Hated by some, respected by others, who is Ariel Sharon? To answer this question, director Dror Moreh accompanied Prime Minister Sharon for several years documenting his private thoughts and feelings.This film provides a view of Sharon few have ever seen. Sharon is revealed as more than a modern Israeli warrior. His humour, thoughts, daily routines, and aspirations are all brought to the screen in this serious and insightful portrait of a man whose impact on the Middle East was as significant as it was dramatic. This unique glimpse into his private world helps explain some of the emotions that led to Sharon's controversial Disengagement Plan, when 21 Jewish settlements were dismantled despite resistance from many of his closest friends and colleagues.

The Kiddush Man

TITLE: The Kiddush Man
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD:
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: 11 minutes
SOURCE:
TEXT: Winner National Board of Review of Motion Pictures Award This short yet poignant film is set in a sunny Jerusalem synagogue over several Shabbat mornings. A bored young boy who is in the habit of sneaking out of the service to raid the Kiddush lunch buffet, is confronted by an older congregant who is responsible for setting up the lunch. The man always appears angry. Why? When the boy sneaks out once more, the "Kiddush Man", for once, is not around. Where is he? As the boy goes searching for him, he discovers the reason for the anger and connects with the old man on a different and touching level.

Two Ladies - Dans La Vie

TITLE: Two Ladies - Dans La Vie
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD:
COUNTRY: France
LANGUAGE: French with English ST
TIME: 73
SOURCE: Seventh Art Releasing 7551 Sunset Blvd., Suite 104 Los Angeles, CA 90046 US Ph: (323) 845-1455 E: shane@7thart.com
TEXT: This wonderfully humane film explores the complex relationship between two older women immigrants in France, one Jewish and the other Muslim. Their story unfolds with the second Lebanon war as a divisivebackdrop. Both women came from Algeria and have struggled to deal with their own circumstances, cultures and contemporary life in France. Halima comes to care for wheelchair-bound Esther. When Esther's son has to leave town temporarily, Esther moves in with Halima and her husband. Their traditional Muslim community is not amused. As the two women's lives become entwined, their superficially stark differences are supplanted by the gradual realization of how much they share. With Halima and Ali preparing to go on a pilgrimage to Mecca, their bond, and their common humanity are put to the test

Recycle

TITLE: Recycle
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Mahmoud al Massad
COUNTRY: Netherlands/ Jordan
LANGUAGE: Arabic with English subtitles
TIME: 78
SOURCE: Sundance 2007
TEXT: Zarqa, Jordan's second largest city, is a rundown, industrial metropolis and birthplace of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the notorious mastermind of al-Qaeda's terror operations in Iraq who was killed by American forces in 2005.RECYCLE reveals the distinct yet intertwined stories of three native sons of Zarqa: al-Zarqawi the dead terrorist leader; Abu Ammar, an ex-mujahadi fighter who now supports his family of 11 by collecting cardboard; and filmmaker Mahmoud al Massad, who, from behind the camera's lens, coolly unravels the knotted threads of poverty, humiliation and strict religious doctrine that have made the city a continuing source for jihadist recruits.
Many of Ammar's neighbors are related to or knew al-Zarqawi. As filmmaker, al Massad rides along with Ammar through the streets and alleyways of Zarqa in his broken-down VW truck. Holding up traffic as his young sons leap out to gather cardboard, Ammar calls out greetings to al-Zarqawi's cousins and points to landmarks associated with the dead jihadist leader.
The camera follows Ammar throughout his day, charting the life of this deeply religious yet moderate Islamic man as he tries to survive and support his eight children and two wives in one of Zarqa's poorest neighborhoods. In the meantime, his attempts to build a normal life in the impoverished town are thwarted at every turn. He cannot afford his rent; a scheme to sell used vehicles in Iraq fails when he is almost killed by extremists and American soldiers, and the book he is writing-a moderate interpretation of jihad-goes unfinished. Even when he is promised free camel's milk for his ill mother, the camel's owner sells it to someone else while Ammar waits patiently for his turn, which never comes.
The story is punctuated by a Greek chorus of Ammar's friends, who, over endless cups of tea and a great deal of self-deprecating laughter, offer insights on al-Zarqawi and commentary on the current situation in the Middle East. Their comfort level with filmmaker al Massad makes for a candid and perceptive exchange that belies the dramatic headlines about Islam and sheds light on everyday Muslims' stance on the war on terror.
Inscrutable, undaunted and ever-devout, Ammar labors alone at night in an abandoned storefront transcribing his personal interpretations of scripture from slips of paper stuffed in garbage bags onto an old desktop computer. But, when the war on terror strikes close to home, he is swept up and forced to deal with the reality that his life is falling apart. His surprising decision to try something completely different suggests that, when push comes to shove, desperate acts can emerge from the most ordinary of circumstances.

Update
Filmmaker Mahmoud al Massad provided updates in January 2009 on what the people in the film have been doing since filming ended: Abu Ammar came back to Jordan after six months in Venezuela. Ammar, the first son of Abu Ammar, still works with his dad picking up cardboard. He is frequently pulled over by the police because he looks too young to have a driver's license. Ali al Azzam, the second son, is the only one focused on his studies. He is getting good grades and helps his father collect cardboard at night. Izadein al Azzam, the third son, is no longer in school because he had too many absences due to helping his father. Abu Bakr, the youngest, is still his father's favorite son. He started school for the first time in 2008. Ahmad Thaher Fayyad, Ammar's friend featured in the film, studied engineering and is between jobs. He lived in Saudi Arabia for a time and is now back in Jordan.

Jewish Luck / Yevreiskoye Schastye / Menakhem Mendl

TITLE: Jewish Luck / Yevreiskoye Schastye / Menakhem Mendl
YEAR: 1925
DIR/PROD: Alexander Granovsky
COUNTRY: USSR
LANGUAGE: Silent with English intertitles
TIME: 199 minutes
SOURCE: www.brandeis.edu/jewishfilm
TEXT: Restored by The National Center for Jewish Film. One of the first Soviet Yiddish comedies to be released in the U.S.A., Jewish Luck is based on Sholom Aleichem's stories about a daydreaming entrepreneur who specializes in doomed strike-it-rich schemes. The film is an adaptation of the GOSET stage production.

The Return of Nathan Becker / Nosn Becker Fort Aheym

TITLE: The Return of Nathan Becker / Nosn Becker Fort Aheym
YEAR: 1932
DIR/PROD: Boris Shpis and Rokhl M. Milman
COUNTRY: USSR
LANGUAGE: Yiddish and Russian with English subtitles
TIME: 72 minutes
SOURCE: www.brandeis.edu/jewishfilm
TEXT: This restored film, featuring new English subtitles, the only Russian-Yiddish "talkie" from Soviet Russia, celebrates Socialist industrial productivity while critiquing shtetl life as primitive and grotesque. An American Jewish bricklayer returns to his Byelorussian village, accompanied by his black friend Jim. Restored by The National Center for Jewish Film.

A Refusenik's Mother / Ima Shel Shimri

TITLE: A Refusenik's Mother / Ima Shel Shimri
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Ori Ben Dov
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English subtitles
TIME: 50
SOURCE: Hillel Nave 5/11 Rupin St. Kfar Saba 44209 Israel Ph: +972 54 4457288 E: hillel.n@gmail.com
TEXT: DOCUMENTARY. Former kibbutznik Marit Zameret's firstborn child Shimri takes a stand against all that Marit believes in by refusing to be recruited into the Israeli army. This riveting and sensitive documentary accompanies Marit as she confronts one of Israeli society's most profound and personal dilemmas, while attempting to maintain a bond with her son.

Yideshe Mama

TITLE: Yideshe Mama
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Fima Shlick and Gennady Kuchuk
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew and Russian with English subtitles
TIME: 63
SOURCE: Fima Shlick 12 Simtat beit hashoeva, Nr. 7 Tel Aviv 65814 Israel Ph: 972 523 286086 E: fimas7@yahoo.com Seen at NY Jewish Film Festival, NYC January 2009
TEXT: Guess who's coming to dinner? Israeli documentary filmmaker Gennady Kuchuk announces to his mother Zina (both from the former Soviet Union) that he is engaged to an Ethiopian woman. Mustering all of her energy and influence, Zina tries to sabotage the union.

A Road to Mecca: The Journey of Muhammad Asad / Der Weg nach Mekka -Die Reise des Muhamm ad Asad

TITLE: A Road to Mecca: The Journey of Muhammad Asad / Der Weg nach Mekka -Die Reise des Muhamm ad Asad
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Georg Misch
COUNTRY: AUSTRIA
LANGUAGE: English, German, Urdu, Ukrainian, Spanish and Arabic with English subtitles
TIME: 92
SOURCE: Lori Fried Icarus Films 32 Court Street Brooklyn, NY 11201 US Ph: (718) 488-8900 E: lori@frif.com
TEXT: Leopold Weiss, the scion of an Austrian family of rabbis, reinvented himself in 1926 as Muhammad Asad, a scholar, political activist and Muslim by choice. His accomplishments included helping to establish the modern state of Pakistan, writing one of the best translations of the Quran, and promoting Islam as a religion of thought, pluralism and tolerance.

At Home in Utopia

TITLE: At Home in Utopia
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Michal Goldman /Ellen Brodsky
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 57
SOURCE: Filmmakers Collaborative, 397 Moody Street, Waltham, MA 02453 US, Ph: (781) 647-1102, E: coops@filmmakerscollab.org
TEXT: In the mid-1920s, thousands of immigrant workers escaped tenement life by pooling their resources to build housing collectives in the Bronx. This moving documentary focuses on the United Workers Cooperative Colony-aka, the Coops-the most grassroots and member-driven of the Jewish labor housing cooperatives, where many residents were Communists or sympathetic to the Communist movement.

Yosl Cutler and His Puppets / Yosl Kotler un Zayn e Marioneten

TITLE: Yosl Cutler and His Puppets / Yosl Kotler un Zayn e Marioneten
YEAR: 1935
DIR/PROD: Joseph Burstyn
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: Yiddish with English subtitles
TIME: 18 minutes
SOURCE: www.brandeis.edu/jewishfilm
TEXT: Multi-talented artist, writer, poet, and Yiddish Art Theater designer Yosl Cutler is probably best known as the cartoonist for the Jewish Communist newspaper, The Freiheit. This delightful film with a biting political edge presents Yosl Cutler in performance, featuring the marionettes he designed, built and brought to life. Restored by The National Center for Jewish Film.

Being Jewish in France / Comme un Juif en France

TITLE: Being Jewish in France / Comme un Juif en France
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Yves Jeuland
COUNTRY: France
LANGUAGE: French with English ST
TIME: 185
SOURCE: www.Brandeis.Edu/Jewishfilm
TEXT: Poised to become the definitive film on the complex history of French Jewry, this sweeping documentary begins with the Dreyfus Affair and ends with contemporary charges of rising anti-Semitism. Narrated by celebrated actor Mathieu Amalric, the film includes rare archival materials and riveting interviews with some of France's leading intellectuals, artists and politicians.

Camp Girls

TITLE: Camp Girls
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Gay Block
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 48
SOURCE: Gay Block 1530 Bishops Lodge Rd. Santa Fe, NM 87506 US Ph: (505) 989-3531 E: gay@gayblock.com
TEXT: In 2006, acclaimed visual artist Gay Block (Bertha Alyce, NYJFF 2003) re-photographed and interviewed women who were girls in her 1981 series from Pinecliffe, a summer camp in Maine. This subtle documentary reveals volumes about gender, class and Jewish identity in America.

Driving Men

TITLE: Driving Men
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Susan Mogul
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 67
SOURCE: susanmogul AT sbcglobal DOT net
TEXT: A free-spirited filmmaker rides shotgun with some of the men in her life. Her road trip conversations with her ex- and almost-lovers, brothers, and father inspire thoughts on art, identity and love.

Darling! The Pieter-Dirk Uys Story

TITLE: Darling! The Pieter-Dirk Uys Story
YEAR: 2006
DIR/PROD: Julian Shaw
COUNTRY: Australia
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 52
SOURCE: Greenlight Productions 45 Oxford St Bondi Junction NSW 2022 Australia Ph: +61 2 9369 1600 E: green@greenlightproductions.com.au
TEXT: Writer/director Julian Shaw creates an inspiring and intimate portrait of South African political satirist Pieter-Dirk Uys, a Jewish Afrikaner who risked his life in the 1980s by criticizing his country's apartheid government. Renowned for his outrageous drag persona Evita Bezuidenhout, Uys currently uses his celebrity to educate school children about HIV /AIDS.

The Woman from Sarajevo

TITLE: The Woman from Sarajevo
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Ella Alterman
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Serbian, English, and Hebrew with English subtitles
TIME: 56
SOURCE:
TEXT: Sara Pizatnich's mother was the first Muslim woman to be honored as "Righteous Among the Nations" for hiding the Jewish Kabilio family during World War II . In a reversal of roles 50 years later, the Kabilios rescued Sara's family during the Bosnian War and brought the to Israel. Now, Pizatnich, a Bosnian woman who received Israeli citizenship and converted to Judaism, travels back to Sarajevo to reunite with her multi-faith family. Shown at the NY Jewish Film Festival, January 2009

Emotional Arithmetic

TITLE: Emotional Arithmetic
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Paolo Barzman
COUNTRY: Canada
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 95
SOURCE: Pascale Ramonda Celluloid Dreams 2, rue Turgot F-75009 Paris France Ph: +33 149708564 E: pascale@celluloid-dreams.com
TEXT: Emotional Arithmetic follows three former inmates at Drancy, a World War II transit camp in France, who have reunited in Québec's picturesque countryside 35 years later. They find themselves recreating complicated and painful relationships. With stellar performances by Susan Sarandon, Christopher Plummer, Max von Sydow and Gabriel Byrne.

Every Mother Should Know / Teda Kol Em Ivriya

TITLE: Every Mother Should Know / Teda Kol Em Ivriya
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Nir Toib
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English subtitles
TIME: 120
SOURCE: Moriya Moyal G.N. Communication 3 Hasolelim St. Tel Aviv 67897 Israel Ph: +972-3-5614302 E: gn@gn-com.com
TEXT: In Nir Toib's soul-searching new documentary, two generations of Israeli reservists reflect on the painful failures of the second Lebanon war. They criticize the senior military command's leadership skills and describe what they feel is a crisis of moral values. Out of their anger and disillusionment, these elite fighters offer a new set of societal values concerning war, sacrifice and heroism.

Facing the Wind / Margish Et Haruach

TITLE: Facing the Wind / Margish Et Haruach
YEAR: 2006
DIR/PROD: Gilad Reshef
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English subtitles
TIME: 50
SOURCE: Noa Roll NOA-International 18 Beit Hillel St. Tel Aviv 67017 Israel Ph: 972 3 5612 045 E: noa@noa-international.com
TEXT: Oran Almog is an Israeli teen who lost his eyesight and five family members in a suicide bombing in Haifa. Here, Oran displays extraordinary character and perseverance as he prepares for his bar mitzvah, establishes a competitive sailing club for the blind, and lives life as a regular kid.

My Father's Palestinian Slave / Min Pappas Palestinska Slav

TITLE: My Father's Palestinian Slave / Min Pappas Palestinska Slav
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Uri App Enzeller and Nathanel Goldman Amirav
COUNTRY: Sweden
LANGUAGE: Swedish with English subtitles
TIME: 52
SOURCE: Nathanel Goldman Amirav Långholmsgatan 11 Stockholm 11733 Sweden Ph: +46 73 989 66 24 E: nathanel.goldman@hotmail.com
TEXT: Having grown up with his mother in Sweden, documentary filmmaker Nathanel Goldman spends a year living in Jerusalem with his Israeli father Moshe Amirav, a veteran peace activist. After Goldman befriends his father's landscaper, an undocumented Palestinian, he grapples with his own privilege and skeptically observes his father's employment practices and politics.

Forgotten Transports: To Estonia / Zapomenuté transporty: Do Estonska

TITLE: Forgotten Transports: To Estonia / Zapomenuté transporty: Do Estonska
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Lukás Pribyl
COUNTRY: Czech Republic
LANGUAGE: English and Czech with English subtitles
TIME: 85
SOURCE: Neil Friedman Menemsha Films 213 Rose Avenue, 2nd floor Venice, CA 90291 US Ph: (310) 452-1775 E: neilf@menemshafilms.com
TEXT: Forgotten Transports: To Estonia documents the incredible odyssey of a group of Czech women who survived a series of concentration camps in a bubble of naiveté, denial and camaraderie. Using meticulous research and rarely seen archival images, the film gives voice to survivors who share their testimony for the first time.

In Search of the Bene Israel

TITLE: In Search of the Bene Israel
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Sadia Shepard
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English and Hindi with English subtitles
TIME: 38
SOURCE: Sadia Shepard 355A Bowery #3 New York, NY 10003 US Ph: (646) 221-6366 E: ss@sadiashepard.com
TEXT: Filmmaker and author Sadia Shepard, the daughter of a Christian and a Muslim, travels to India to connect with her grandmother's Jewish community in and around Mumbai (formerly Bombay). Also read the book, available on Amazon or MyJewishBooks.com

The Fire Within: Jews in the Amazonian Rainforest

TITLE: The Fire Within: Jews in the Amazonian Rainforest
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Lorry Salcedo Mitrani
COUNTRY: Peru/USA
LANGUAGE: English and Spanish with English subtitles
TIME: 60
SOURCE: Contact: Lorry Salcedo Mitrani Gordon Gilbert 231 West 4th St., Apt. 1 New York, NY 10014 US Ph: (718) 916-7664 E: lorrysalce@aol.com
TEXT: This documentary follows the conversion process of a contemporary Peruvian community descended from indigenous women and Jewish men who settled the Amazon during the late 19th century rubber boom. Raised with mixed religious traditions and faced with numerous challenges, some residents remain in the Amazon while others become Israeli citizens.

Kredens

TITLE: Kredens
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Jacob Dammas
COUNTRY: Poland/Denmark
LANGUAGE: Danish and Polish with English subtitles
TIME: 26m
SOURCE: Jacob Dammas Graniza Grochowska 341/80 03-822 Warsaw Poland Ph: +48 506642021 E: jacob.dammas@graniza.org
TEXT: Somewhere in Warsaw, Poland, a 150-kilogram German-made credenza holds in its sturdy cupboards the 80-year-old history of Jacob Dammas's Polish-Jewish family. They left the heirloom behind when forced to leave Poland in 1968. Dammas defies his mother's wishes and follows the credenza's trail in this humorous and beautifully rendered wild goose chase.

Stumbling Stone /Stolperstein

TITLE: Stumbling Stone / Stolperstein
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Dörte Franke
COUNTRY: Germany
LANGUAGE: German with English subtitles
TIME: 75
SOURCE: Gunter Hanfgarn, Hanfgarn & Ufer Film- & TV-Produktion, Reichenberger Str. 124, 10999 Berlin Germany Ph: (0)30 84 85 50 00 E: info@hu-film.de
TEXT: With his project Stolpersteine, German conceptual artist Gunter Demnig has made it his ongoing mission to create one of the largest Holocaust memorial projects in Europe. Images of the fabrication and placement of engraved, brass-capped cobblestones in front of the last-known residences of Jews, Roma and other victims of the Nazis are interwoven with interviews with enthusiasts and critics of the project throughout this captivating bio-doc road movie.

Max Minsky and Me / Max Minsky und ich

TITLE: Max Minsky and Me / Max Minsky und ich
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Anna Justice
COUNTRY: Germany
LANGUAGE: German with English subtitles
TIME: 95m
SOURCE: Delphis Films 225 Roy St. Suit 200 Montreal Qc H2W 1M5 Canada Ph: (514) 843-3355x291 E: mscourcy@delphisfilms.com
TEXT: Adapted from the best-selling novel by Holly-Jane Rahlens, Max Minsky and Me is a charming, family-friendly comedy set in contemporary Berlin. Nelly, a bookish bat mitzvah candidate and outer space enthusiast, desperately wants to be on her school basketball team and dreams of one day meeting her prince charming. In exchange for doing his homework, a reluctant jock offers Nelly athletic training and, ultimately, his respect.

Mr.Rakowski

TITLE: Mr. Rakowski
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Jan Diederen
COUNTRY: Netherlands
LANGUAGE: Duth with English subtitles
TIME: 77
SOURCE: Stolen Time Productions Ceintuurbaan 410 1074 EA Amsterdam The Netherlands Ph: +31 6 51807265 E: jandiederen@xs4all.nl
TEXT: Richie Rakowski struggles to bridge an emotional gap with his aging father Sam, a stubborn and stoic Holocaust survivor. Dutch documentary filmmaker Jan Diederen unintentionally takes on the role as mediator between two men who have spent their lives struggling against personal traumas and tragedies. He captures the remarkable transformation of a relationship and the healing of two souls.

Our Disappeared / Nuestros desaparecidos

TITLE: Our Disappeared / Nuestros desaparecidos
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Juan Mandelbaum
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English and Spanish with English Subtitles
TIME: 99
SOURCE: Juan Mandelbaum Geovision 75 North Beacon Street Watertown, MA 02472 US Ph: (617) 926 5454x104 E: juanm@geovisiononline.com
TEXT: Director Juan Mandelbaum returns to his native Argentina on a very personal mission to uncover what happened to beloved friends who were kidnapped, tortured and murdered during the military dictatorship from 1976 to 1983. Mandelbaum utilizes stunning archival footage and dramatic testimony from parents, siblings, friends and children of the disappeared.

The Gift to Stalin / Podarok Stalinu

TITLE: The Gift to Stalin / Podarok Stalinu
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Rustem Abdrashev / Aliya Uvalzhanova
COUNTRY: Kazakhstan/Russia/Poland/Israel
LANGUAGE: Kazakh and Russian with English subtitles
TIME: 99
SOURCE: Seagull Films 526 West 111th Street, Suite 2CC New York, NY 10025 US Ph/F: (646)707-3879 E: alla.verlotsky@gmail.com
TEXT: In rural Kazakhstan in 1949, Muslim railroad worker Kasym rescues Sashka, a Jewish boy from Moscow who is a victim of Stalin's ethnic deportations. Adopted by Kasym's multiethnic clan and renamed Sabyr, the city boy quickly adapts to the new customs, as well as the pastoral landscape. But with hopes of reuniting with his birth family, Sashka participates in a Sovietwide contest to offer Stalin a present for his 70th birthday in exchange for a private audience. Narrated by Sashka, the film shifts from past to present, and from the stunning steppes of Kazakhstan to the Old City of Jerusalem.

The Jester / Der Purimshpiler

TITLE: The Jester / Der Purimshpiler
YEAR: 1937
DIR/PROD: Joseph Green and Jan Nowi na-Przybylski
COUNTRY: Poland
LANGUAGE: Yiddish with English subtitles
TIME: 90
SOURCE: www.brandeis.edu/jewishfilm
TEXT: Star-crossed lovers sing and dance in this touching musical comedy set in pre-World War I Poland. This newly restored 1937 Yiddish feature offers a taste of Warsaw's thriving entertainment scene-a mix of shtetl sensibility with European sophistication. Restored by The National Center for Jewish Film.

Der Purimshpiler

TITLE: Der Purimshpiler
YEAR: 1937
DIR/PROD: Joseph Green and Jan Nowi na-Przybylski
COUNTRY: Poland
LANGUAGE: Yiddish with English subtitles
TIME: 90
SOURCE: www.brandeis.edu/jewishfilm
TEXT: Star-crossed lovers sing and dance in this touching musical comedy set in pre-World War I Poland. This newly restored 1937 Yiddish feature offers a taste of Warsaw's thriving entertainment scene-a mix of shtetl sensibility with European sophistication. Restored by The National Center for Jewish Film.

The Wedding Song / Le chant des mariées

TITLE: The Wedding Song / Le chant des mariées
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Karin Albou
COUNTRY: France
LANGUAGE: French, Arabic, and German with English subtitles
TIME: 84
SOURCE:
TEXT: During World War II , the Nazi occupation of Tunisia strains the friendship of Nour and Myriam, respectively Muslim and Jewish and both preparing for marriage. Karin Albou (La Petite Jerusalem, NYJFF 2006) again portrays interfaith conflicts and the intimate rituals associated with Sephardic Jewish women with supreme power and sensitivity.

Two Lives Plus One / Deux vies... plus une

TITLE: Two Lives Plus One / Deux vies... plus une
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Idit Cebula
COUNTRY: France
LANGUAGE: French with English subtitles
TIME: 86
SOURCE:
TEXT: The magnetic Emmanuelle Devos stars in this charming and fanciful drama as Eliane, a Parisian schoolteacher in mid-life crisis, who attempts to rewrite her life by becoming a serious author. Suffocated by work and family, Eliane escapes to a graveyard, imagining conversations with her deceased father and finding her voice in the process.

Waiting for Armageddon

TITLE: Waiting for Armageddon
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Kate Davis, David Heilbroner and Franco Sacchi
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 74m
SOURCE: Sam Sibble The Film Sales Company 165 Madison Avenue, Suite 601 New York, NY 10016 US Ph: (212) 481-5020 E: sam.sibble@filmsalescorp.com
TEXT: This shocking documentary explores the growing number-and clout-of Evangelicals who believe that Israel and the Jewish people play a pivotal role in an imminent apocalypse. It also investigates the effect of Christian fundamentalism on American foreign policy in the Middle East.

Weekend in Galilee / Sof Shavua Bagalil

TITLE: Weekend in Galilee / Sof Shavua Bagalil
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Moshe Mizrahi
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English ST
TIME: 100
SOURCE:
TEXT: In this captivating drama, a distinguished professor and his wife visit the family farm up north. After a few days, secret passions and brewing jealousies boil to the surface. Moshe Mizrahi (Madame Rosa, The House on Chelouche Street), the Academy Award-winning pioneer of modern Israeli cinema, is in fine form with this intimate ensemble production inspired by Chekhov's Uncle Vanya.

Young Freud in Gaza / Ung e Freud i Gaza

TITLE: Young Freud in Gaza / Ung e Freud i Gaza
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: PeÅ Holmquist and Suzanne Khardalian
COUNTRY: Sweden
LANGUAGE: English and Arabic with English subtitles
TIME: 90
SOURCE:
TEXT: Filmed between 2006 and 2008, this gripping documentary follows Ayed, the only field psychologist in northern Gaza, as he counsels patients suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder and other mental illnesses. The filmmakers convey a very intimate portrait of the devastating impact of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Whatever Works

TITLE: Whatever Works
YEAR: 2009
DIR/PROD: Woody Allen
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 92
SOURCE: Sony Pictures
TEXT: Written and directed by Woody Allen, it opened the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2009. It stars Larry David as an eccentric upper class New Yorker in Manhattan. He abandons his life to be more bohemian, He meets a young Southern girl and her family. Comedy ensures.

A Matter of Size / Sipur Gadol

TITLE: A Matter of Size / Sipur Gadol
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Erez Tadmor and Sharon Maymon
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English subtitles
TIME: 92 minutes
SOURCE: Michaeli Chilik 76, Yigal Alon Street Tel Aviv 67067 Email: chilikm@netvision.net.il or UCM TEL AVIV
TEXT: Comedy. Shown at Tribeca FF, 2009. Karlovy Vary 2009. Gala opener of Jerusalem Film Festival 2009 in July 2009. A fat underemployed chef and three close friends abandon their weight loss group to pursue an activity for Sumo Wrestling. Sumo teaches them that it doesn't matter that you are fat or thin, what matters is that you are true to yourself
Stars: Itzik Cohen, Irit Kaplan, Dvir Benedek, Alon Dahan, Shmulik Cohen, Levana Finkelstein, Togo Igawa. Based on a story by Sharon Maymon.
A group of obese people from the Israeli city of Ramla is fed up with their strict diet regime. Herzl, an obese man, starts working as a dish washer in a Japanese restaurant where he is exposed to the world of Sumo through Kitano, the restaurant manager, who was a Sumo coach in Japan. Herzl falls in love with the Sumo world and persuades Kitano to coach him and his obese friends. One by one, Herzl's friends leave their dieting club and discover the world of Sumo, where fat people like them are honored and appreciated. Through Sumo, they connect to themselves and their fat bodies, each one in his or her individual way. A Matter of Size is a movie about the coming out of the closet of fat people and about their ability to accept their size and relate positively to their bodies through the world of Sumo.

Off and Running

TITLE: Off and Running
YEAR: 2009
DIR/PROD: Nicole Opper / Macky Alston and Sandra Itkoff
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 76
SOURCE: You can facebook the director. Or contact First Run Features The Film Center Bldg. 630 Ninth Ave., Suite 1213 New York, NY 10036 USA Phone: +1 212-243-0600 ext. 22 Fax: +1 212-989-7649 www.firstrunfeatures.com
TEXT: Documentary. With white Jewish lesbians for parents and two adopted brothers (one Korean, one mixed race), Avery is a teen, who is growing up in a unique Jewish Brooklyn household. One of her mothers has Israeli roots, the other converted to Judaism as an adult. Avery is curious about her biological, African American roots and decides to find and contact her birth mother. The film follows her as she explores identity, race and family and it threatens to distance her from her adopted parents. The audience becomes deeply involved in her quest and will feel her doubts and pain as events unfold, and good and not so good decisions get made. Premiered at The Tribeca FF 2009, Shown at Boston JFF, as well as the Jewish Federation General Assembly 2009
Avery's constant displacement-whether it was at her Jewish (Hannah Senesh) elementary school, or among her friends, or even at home - informs her difficult journey, objectively documented by director Nicole Opper. Most impressive is Opper's poised camera, able to capture honest and articulate conversations between Avery and her incredibly attentive, brilliant older brother Rafi. “Off and Running” is a unique and very American coming-of-age story that delves into the psyche of race through a fresh and careful dissection of a family's struggle
Nicole Opper recently produced the five-part documentary series LSS for Here! Networks. She line-produced Macky Alston's Emmy-nominated The Killer Within, which aired on the Discovery Channel in 2007, and associate produced Peter Miller's Sacco and Vanzetti. Her documentary short Song of Hannah is distributed by The National Center for Jewish Film. “Off and Running,” is Opper's feature-length documentary debut and was a selection of the Tribeca All Access program. Opper also teaches filmmaking and media literacy in New York City high schools, which is where she met Avery and began to explore her life. Opper, who one day also plan to adopt a child, allowed Avery to be intimately involved in the creation and editing of this documentary film.
From the Boston Jewish FF: “With white Jewish lesbians for parents and two adopted brothers, Avery grew up in a unique household. Her choice as a teen to contact her African American birth mother propels Avery into a complicated exploration of race, identity, and family. Avery’s efforts to pick up the pieces of her life and makes sense of her identity are inspiring. Nicole Opper’s debut feature, Off and Running, screened at Tribeca, OutFest, Silverdocs and other film festivals, winning several awards. She has been named one of Filmmaker Magazine's 25 New Faces of Independent Film.”

Partly Private

TITLE: Partly Private
YEAR: 2009
DIR/PROD: Danae Elon / Maryse Rouillard, Ina Fichman, Arik Bernsterin
COUNTRY: Canada
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 84
SOURCE: Natasha Rybina, Filmoption International, 3401 Rue St-Antoine Ouest Montreal, QC H3Z 1X1 Email: nrybina@filmoption.com
TEXT: Documentary. To circumcise of not. Danae was pregnant with a boy. Danae and her husband must decide on what to do? They travel from New York to London, Turkey to Israel in a quest to decide what to do.

Salt of the Sea

TITLE: Salt of the Sea / Milh Hadha al-Bahr
YEAR: 2009
DIR/PROD: Annemarie Jacir / Eric Legesse and Joslyn Bidou, Jacques Bidou, Marianne DuMoulin , Danny Glover, Joslyn Barnes, Annemaire Jacir
COUNTRY: Palestinian Territory
LANGUAGE: English and Arabic with English subtitles
TIME: 108
SOURCE: Paul Richer Pyramide International 5, rue de Chevalier de Saint-George 75008 Paris Email: pricher@pyramidefilms.com
TEXT: Stars: Suheir Hammad, Saleh Bakri, Riyad Ideis, Shelly Goral . Soraya (acted by Suheir Hammad) was raised in Brooklyn. She travels to retrieve her grandfather's savings, frozen in a Jaffa bank account after his 1948 exit. She is frustrated by the official policies she confronts, so therefore she sets out on a road trip for poetic justice in Israel - after which there can be no return.
Tribeca: "Struggling to feel at home in the land of her ancestors, she meets Emad, a young Palestinian whose ambition, contrary to hers, is to leave forever. When confronted with unwieldy official policies that deny her access to the fruit of her grandfather's life's work, she must take things into their own hands, even if it's illegal. Stubborn, passionate, and determined to reclaim what's theirs, she and Emad set out on a road trip for poetic justice across a lush Palestinian (now Israeli) landscape-after which there is no return. Annemarie Jacir's award-winning directorial debut represents a fresh, viscerally affecting, and definitive statement from second-generation Palestinian Americans. Rife with symbolism, director of photography Benoit Chamaillard's color-saturated lensing of Palestinian landscapes and composer Kamran Rastegar's evocative score make palpable the yearning and frustration of a quest to reclaim what was stolen."

Seven Minutes in Heaven / Sheva Dakot Be' Gan Eden

TITLE: Seven Minutes in Heaven / Sheva Dakot Be' Gan Eden
YEAR: 2009
DIR/PROD: Omri Givon /Marek Rozenbaum, Elie Meirowitz, Itai Tamir, Michael Rozenbaum, Ferenc Pusztai
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English subtitles
TIME: 94
SOURCE: Marek Rozenbaum BR> TEXT: A young woman struggles to reconstruct her memory of the events immediately following the Jerusalem bus bombing that too the life of her boyfriend and left her back scarred. Part memory play, part love story, part metaphysical thriller, this startling debut feature announces Givon as a forceful storyteller and exciting new voice in international cinema (Tribeca FF, April 2009)
For the past year, Galia has tended not just to her own physical injuries but also to her boyfriend Oren. The event that left him in a coma and her back badly scarred is an enormous blur. Getting on the Jerusalem bus... the explosion... waking up in the hospital... most of Galia's recollections come from the reports of others. But when Oren finally passes away, never having awoken, and a familiar and treasured necklace is anonymously returned to her, Galia realizes that in order to move forward, she must reconstruct this mysterious past and, in particular, that one horrific day. Omri Givon's debut is a startling and accomplished feature. A dynamic visual style, enhanced by meticulous editing, grounds this carefully constructed narrative and explores multiple genres from weepy romance and heartbreaking drama to mystical ghost story and metaphysical thriller. Givon carefully exposes the pieces of the story, always leaving bits of information hidden or barely hinted at. The film proves constantly engaging, but the magic in Givon's storytelling is his ability to bring all the pieces together in a single moment of denouement, providing a force of impact unequaled in many films

Rachel

TITLE: Rachel
YEAR: 2009
DIR/PROD: Simone Bitton
COUNTRY: France, Belgium
LANGUAGE: English, Arabic, Hebrew and Subtitles
TIME: 101
SOURCE: Clément Duboin UMedia - Urban Media International 14 rue du 18 août Montreuil 93100 France Email: clement@umedia.fr
TEXT: Documentary. Rachel is the story of Rachel Corrie, a 22 year old American member of the International Solidarity Movement, who was killed in the Gaza Strip in 2003 when an Israeli Army bulldozer crushed her while it was knocking down homes, and she was fighting the policy of home destruction. Simone Bitton takes entries from Corrie's diary and splices it with interviews with activists and Israeli army personnel.
With understated cinematic techniques, Bitton captures the spirit of Rachel's youth, idealism, naivete, and political commitment amidst sweeping landscapes of Gaza and a portrait of daily life. Excerpts from Corrie's diaries are read aloud by members of ISM who continue in her path, putting their bodies harm's way. Bitton tracks down those who influenced Rachel's path as a peace activist, interviewing them as they grapple with the complexities of how rewarding and profound it is to be in political solidarity across national borders.

Wonderful World

TITLE: Wonderful World
YEAR: 2009
DIR/PROD: John Goldin
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 89
SOURCE: AmbushEntertainment.com
TEXT: Ben Singer (played by Matthew Broderick) is a negative man. When his roommate, Ibou, becomes ill, his sister, Khadi, arrives from Senegal is help. The living arrangement become awkward. But Ben Singer starts to change from self destructive habits, and maybe to something more likable and humane.
Ben Singer (Matthew Broderick) is a failed children's folk singer, a career proofreader, a compulsive marijuana smoker, and a less-than-extraordinary weekend dad. He's also the most negative man alive. Floundering in all aspects of his life, Ben's only comfort comes from regular chess games and friendly debates on game theory with his Senegalese roommate Ibou. When Ibou is suddenly struck ill, and an insensitive municipal employee exacerbates the emergency situation, Ben's pessimistic worldview seems unequivocally confirmed. His only recourse is to pour his energies into a frivolous lawsuit against the city for depraved indifference. But Ben soon finds that cynicism may be all a matter of perspective. Writer/director Josh Goldin increasingly calls into question Ben's misanthropy and carefully navigates the character's midlife melancholy as a possible product of his own mind. Goldin delicately balances both seriousness and levity, giving texture and depth to this offbeat and entertaining character study. Broderick brings the unlikable but undeniably savable Ben to life with the wry antics of his performance.

Gaza Sderot

TITLE: Gaza Sderot
YEAR: 2009
DIR/PROD: Khalil al Muzayyen & Robby Elmaliah
COUNTRY: Israel/Gaza
LANGUAGE: English
TIME:
SOURCE: gaza-sderot.arte.tv
TEXT: Synopsis: A documentary shown at SxSW.com in March 2009. Gaza Sderot, life in spite of everything. Gaza (Palestine) and Sderot (Israel): Report on the life of men, women and children in two cities on the Israeli Palestinian border. Tell about the reality on both sides. Despite of many dangers, air bombings and rocket attacks, those people never stop working, loving, and dreaming. Life despite of everything. During two months short videos (2 minutes each) on Gaza and Sderot. Every day, and only on the Internet, one video from Palestine, the other one from Israel. One without the other only would show part of the reality. This program was broadcasted daily on the Internet from the 26th of October to the 23th of December 2008. (40 episodes - 80 videos).

Love on Delivery

TITLE: Love on Delivery
YEAR: 2009
DIR/PROD: Janus Metz
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME:
SOURCE: Danish Film Institute Gothersgade 55 Copenhagen 1123 kurstein@dfi.dk www.dfi.FK
TEXT: Not a Jewish film, but sounds interesting. Documentary at SxSW.com In a remote fishing community in the north of Denmark live 575 Thai women married to Danish men. Fifteen years ago, there were almost none. But Sommai was there as a former sex worker from Pattaya. Now, she and a group of other industrious and strong Thai women are trying to find a man for Sommai's young niece Kaeh who is in Denmark on a three-month tourist visa. A different kind of love story, the film gives an intimate insight into the special relationships between Danish men and their Thai wives who all try to outlive the idea of Western happiness and thereby achieve respect and social status back home in Thailand. Janus Metz has worked as a researcher on documentary film projects. Metz lived in Johannesburg working on a South African drama series, "Soul City." The stay inspired him to make his debut film, the documentary "Township Boys" (2006).
In a second follow-up film, TICKET TO PARADISE, the director goes to a small village in the north east of Thailand where there are two kinds of families. Those who have a daughter married to a Dane, and those who don't. The first mentioned live in concrete buildings, the latter in small wooden cottages. Sommai is the queen of the village. Normally she works at a factory in Denmark. But now she is back in Thailand, where the young girls flock around her. They hope she can help them find a Danish husband. Life in the west, however, has its price and the women often need to make difficult decisions while pursuing their dreams. For the newly married Kae this means that she has to leave her child behind. And for the young girl Saeng, the ticket to paradise is through the sex-bars in Pattaya.

Anvil! The Story of Anvil

TITLE: Anvil! The Story of Anvil
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Sacha Gervasi/ Rebecca Yeldham
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 80
SOURCE: Abramorama
TEXT: Doumentary. Cast: Steven "Lips" Kudlow, Robb Reiner (the Canadian Robb Reiner, not the comedian). At fourteen years old, best friends Lips and Robb Reiner made a pact to rock together forever. Their band Anvil, hailed as the 'demi-gods of Canadian metal,' influenced a musical generation including Metallica, Slayer and Anthrax. Though Anvil never made it, they never stopped playing or believing. Following a calamitous European tour, Lips and Robb, now well into their fifties, set off to record their thirteenth album, 'This is Thirteen,' in one last attempt to fulfill their boyhood dream. The director is Sacha Gervasi who was educated at Westminster School and then read modern history at King's College London. His first job was working for the Poet Laureate Ted Hughes at The Arvon Writing Foundation, the charity Hughes started with his first wife, Sylvia Plath. Gervasi moved to Los Angeles in 1995 to attend the graduate screenwriting program at UCLA Film School, where he twice won the BAFTA/LA scholarship. While in the program, he supported himself by working as a journalist, writing for newspapers and magazines, including The Sunday Times, The Observer, and Punch. Gervasi got his film writing start with The Big Tease, which he co-wrote with Craig Ferguson. He went on to pen The Terminal, made into a film in 2004 directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Hanks. He subsequently wrote Comrade Rockstar for Tom Hanks, How to Marry A Millionaire for Nicole Kidman and is currently writing Henry's Crime for Keanu Reaves. In 2009 he will write and direct a biopic of Fantasy Island actor Herve Villechaize based on his own interviews with the diminutive Frenchman conducted only days before the actor committed suicide in September 1993. The film will be produced by Mandate Pictures and Oscar winning Schindler's List scribe Steven Zaillian through their co-venture Film Rites.
My description above does not do justice to this great documentary. Sacha ran away as a teen and toured with this band over two decades ago. He returns to follow the two singers and their band on their European Tour. They are the real THIS IS SPINAL TAP. They get booked into crappy venues, and miss their train. But what it comes down to and a great Jewish story of two men who are lifelong friends, their families, their siblings hopes and dreams for them, and the real Bromance.

At 14, Toronto school friends Steve "Lips" Kudlow and Robb Reiner made a pact to rock together forever. Their band, Anvil, went on to become the "demigods of Canadian metal," releasing one of the heaviest albums in metal history, 1982's Metal on Metal. The album influenced a musical generation, including Metallica, Slayer, and Anthrax, and went on to sell millions of records. But Anvil's career took a different path-straight to obscurity. Director Sacha Gervasi has concocted a wonderful and often hilarious account of Anvil's last-ditch quest for elusive fame and fortune. His ingenious filmmaking may first lead you to think this a mockumentary, but it isn't. Gervasi joined the legendary heavy-metal band as a roadie for a tour of Canadian hockey arenas, so he has intimate insight into the members' eccentricities. It's fascinating to see the reality of their day-to-day lives as they struggle to make ends meet, take a misguided European tour, and engage in antics on the road-which is not always lined with fans. Gervasi even finds a softer center to this raucous film, introducing us to band members' ever-supportive, but long-suffering, families. At its core, Anvil! The True Story of Anvil is a timeless tale of survival and the unadulterated passion it takes to follow your dream, year after year. Anvil rocks-it has no other choice.

Along Came Kinky...Texas Jewboy for Governor

TITLE: Along Came Kinky...Texas Jewboy for Governor
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: David Hartstein
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 89
SOURCE: David Hartstein Blue Suitcase 5717 Avenue F Austin TX 78752 dhartst@gmail.com
TEXT: Documentary. Along Came Kinky...chronicles singing Jewish cowboy Kinky Friedman's 2006 independent gubernatorial campaign in Texas. See the outspoken Kinky, his campaign staff strategizing for an unprecedented four-way race, and grass roots volunteers canvassing the state to raise awareness and money for their unlikely but incredibly sharp candidate. Director's Bio:Having grown up on the mean streets of Long Island, David received an MFA from the University of Texas in 2004 and has since been an Austin based filmmaker, freelancer and teacher. In addition to Along Came Kinky..., David is also producing America's Parking Lot, a feature doc about Dallas Cowboys tailgaters and The Happy Poet, a feature comedy from writer/director Paul Gordon.

You Wont Miss Me

TITLE: You Wont Miss Me
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Ry Russo-Young
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 81
SOURCE: Mesee Productions LLC ryrussoyoung@gmail.com
TEXT: Cast: Stella Schnabel, Simon O'Connor, Zachary Tucker, Borden Capalino, Carlen Altman, Rene Ricard, Josephine Wheelwright, Sarah Ball,Donald Eric Cumming, Aaron Katz. Screenwriter: Ry Russo-Young, Stella Schnabel. ryrussoyoung.com A kaleidoscopic film portrait of Shelly Brown, a twenty-three-year-old alienated urban misfit recently released from a psychiatric hospital. Starring Stella Schnabel, featuring Rene Ricard and introducing other notable New York personalities, the film gives pathos to the frenzy of the youthful desire for acceptance. Shot in a variety of styles and formats, YOU WONT MISS ME mixes non-actors with professionals, verite with staging, order with abstraction, to paint an evocative picture of a contemporary rebel. Born in 1981, Ry Russo-Young grew up in downtown Manhattan and made her first film while attending Saint Ann's High School in collaboration with her childhood best friend. WIDE BERTH is a 16mm hand painted odyssey of friendship and landscape. When Russo-Young was twenty-two, she was profiled on the cover of The New York Times Magazine in the article 'Growing Up With Mom and Mom.' After graduating from Oberlin College in 2003, Russo-Young made the Super 8 short film, MARION. A three-screen deconstruction of Alfred Hitchcock's PSYCHO, MARION screened at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival and garnered several awards, including the Jury Award for Best Experimental Film at the 2006 SXSW Film Festival.

Deal

TITLE: Deal
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Steven Schachter
COUNTRY: Canada
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 98
SOURCE:
TEXT: DEAL, a Canadian farce film directed by Steven Schachter, which stars William H. Macy, Meg Ryan, and LL Cool J, in which Charlie Berns (Macy), a producer whose suicidal tendencies give him the chutzpah to con a major studio into a $100 million deal on a script he hasn't even read about Benjamin Disraeli for a recently converted black action star who is actively seeking Jewish material. LL Cool J comes to the set with his trailer as well as his own mobile synagogue and minyan. Sundance 2008
What does it look like when a Hollywood movie producer suddenly has nothing to lose? Meet Charlie Berns, a guy whose suicidal tendencies give him the chutzpah to con a major studio into a $100 million deal on a script he hasn't even read. At the very moment when his idealistic screenwriter nephew knocks on the door, toting a solemn art-house period script about Benjamin Disraeli, Charlie has literally had it with life. But the trade papers have announced that a recently converted black action star is actively seeking Jewish material, so the serendipity is too absurd to resist. Charlie masterminds a plan, making it impossible for the studio not to green-light this project, which, while Jewish, couldn't be further from an action flick. No matter. In Hollywood, perception is everything. Along the way, Charlie meets his match in Deidre Hearn, a sharp-witted development executive who sees right through his games but also recognizes that maybe his caution-to-the-wind philosophy has serious merit.The mischievous charm in this smart screwball satire about renegade producers bamboozling a soul-crushing industry hinges on the wonderfully crackly Tracy-Hepburn chemistry between William Macy and Meg Ryan. Steven Schachter's tongue-in-cheek romp revels in sending up Hollywood stereotypes-zealous star, histrionic director, slippery suits-but also Ryan's legacy as romantic comedy's "it" girl, and even the notion that it's possible to make a meaningful movie.

Mysteries of Pittsburgh

TITLE: Mysteries of Pittsburgh
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Rawson Marshall Thurber
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME:
SOURCE: : http://www.mysteries-of-pittsburgh.com/ Peace Arch Entertainment
TEXT: MYSTERIES OF PITTSBURGH, directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber and adapted from the novel by Michael Chabon, which is set in Pittsburgh in the early 1980s, and chronicles the last true summer of Art Bechstein's youth. Sundance 2008
Cast: Jon Foster, Peter Sarsgaard, Sienna Miller, Mena Suvari, Nick Nolte Screenwriter(s): Rawson Marshall Thurber, based on the novel by Michael Chabon. Producers: Michael London, Jason Mercer, Thor Benander, Rawson Marshall Thurber. Based on Michael Chabon's influential novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh seductively captures that moment when getting derailed from complacency opens your mind to the endless possibilities life has to offer. Set in Pittsburgh in the early 1980s, the story chronicles the last true summer of Art Bechstein's youth. Stuck in a dead-end job working for his eccentric sometime-girlfriend, and forced into an endless series of airless dinners with his mobster father, Art begins to believe that perhaps he doesn't even exist at all. What begins as a mundane summer is quickly interrupted when he encounters a beautiful debutante and her lusty boyfriend. Together they reveal a side of Art-and Pittsburgh-that he has never known. As the summer boils on and their adventures darken, Art decides to risk everything to preserve his newfound paradise: he thrusts himself headlong into the blurring boundaries of family, friendship, and love.

Strangers

TITLE: Strangers
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Erez Tadmor and Guy Nattiv
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME:
SOURCE:
TEXT: STRANGERS, an Israeli drama directed by Erez Tadmor and Guy Nattiv, about a love between an Israeli kibbutznik, Eyal, and a Palestinian, Rana, living in Paris, who both descend on Berlin for the World Cup finals and meet accidentally when their identical backpacks get switched on the subway. If you've ever been swept up in a love affair that leaves you dizzy (or wanted to be), you will find yourself viscerally entwined with Strangers, Erez Tadmor and Guy Nattiv's riveting story of impossible love--based on their 2004 award-winning Festival short. An Israeli kibbutznik, Eyal, and a Palestinian living in Paris, Rana, both descending on Berlin for the World Cup finals, meet accidentally when their identical backpacks get switched on the subway. This chance encounter turns into three days of magnetic attraction as they fall in love amidst crowds of roaring soccer fans. But as Rana jets suddenly and inexplicably back to Paris, the second Israel-Lebanon war breaks out, and a conflicted Eyal decides to search for Rana in spite of it all. Once in Paris, harsh realities of displacement, opposing opinions on the war, allegiances, and responsibilities test their bond. Yet it is on Europe's neutral ground that Rana and Eyal are somehow able to transcend deep wounds of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and relate as individuals. Their inextricably linked history and common homeland, certainly a source of discord, also seem to generate an intrinsic intimacy between them. Shot largely hand held and fueled by powerfully immediate, improvisational performances against the backdrop of real events in summer 2006, Strangers reflects the urgency and freshness of a younger generation seeking to reconnect with and humanize the "enemy" in their midst. Sundance 2008

Death In Love

TITLE: Death In Love
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Boaz Yakin
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 100
SOURCE:
TEXT: Written and directed by Boaz Yakin. Producers: Boaz Yakin, Joseph N. Zolfo and Alma Har'el. Cast: Josh Lucas, Jacqueline Bisset, Lukas Haas, Adam Brody. What burdens do the survivors of those who survived carry? A young woman in a Nazi concentration camp saves her life by seducing the young doctor who performs medical experiments on prisoners. Cut to decades later, when that same woman (played by Jacqueline Bisset) is living in New York City and married with two grown sons. The two siblings have developed differently under a mother with a long history of erratic behavior. The younger one can't cope at all, and the older one copes too well. Portrayed by Josh Lucas, he is now 40 years old and hides out in psychosexual escapades and a job at a fraudulent modeling agency scamming the young and hopeful. He is good at them both--too good. So why is he growing increasingly frightened? Is he losing his game? His sexual prowess and intellectual diatribes no longer make him feel better. He will have to change to survive. Boaz Yakin returns to Sundance with a wonderfully insightful, yet personal, film about family, guilt, ambition, lust, and the impossible task of trying to live without them. The detailed performances of the talented cast capture the subtleties of characters maneuvering through a minefield of family relationships. Death in Love reminds us that no matter how much we wish it weren't so, our actions reverberate and affect others in monumental ways, especially those who love us.

Under the Bombs

TITLE: Under the Bombs
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Philippe Aractingi / Hervé Chabalier, Francois Cohen-Séat, Paul Raphael, Philippe Aractingi
COUNTRY: Lebanon
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 98
SOURCE:
TEXT: Sundance 2008. In the summer of 2006, Lebanon was relentlessly bombed for 34 days in a row. Bold and riveting, Under the Bombs is Philippe Aractingi's captivating account of what happens next. Amidst the smoke and turmoil, the beautiful, wealthy Zeina returns from abroad in a frivolously bright blue dress that starkly contrasts with the dark reality she faces. Desperate for a cab, she meets Tony, an oddly endearing driver who, because of her beautiful eyes, risks the perilous drive to the heavily affected southern region to search for her missing sister and son. Against a scarred terrain of sun-drenched ruins, bombed-out roads, and lush lands peppered with live cluster shells, Zeina frantically grasps at strands of information to uncover her family's whereabouts. Meanwhile, an unlikely intimacy takes root between Zeina and Tony that eludes romantic clichés to become another kind of love: the recognition of a shared humanity that renders differences of class, religion, and politics irrelevant. Shot 10 days into the actual bombings with many nonactors, Aractingi's sophisticated film hovers willfully between narrative and documentary, lending rare authenticity and access to an emotionally powerful, fast-paced, and haunting story. Nuanced, complex characters illuminate the personal trauma of war, effectively leaving behind the reactionary politics of either warring side, Hezbollah or the Israeli military. Instead, we are offered the possibility of salvaged hope, new beginnings, and ultimately, peace--from under the bombs.

Wackness

TITLE: Wackness
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Jonathan Levine / Joe Neurauter, Keith Calder, Felipe Marino
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 110
SOURCE:
TEXT: Cast: Josh Peck, Ben Kingsley, Famke Janssen, Olivia Thirlby, Mary Kate Olsen, Method Man. In the sweltering summer of 1994, Giuliani is scouring New York City within an inch of its life, hip-hop is permeating white youth culture, and a pot-dealing loser kid, Luke Shapiro, is trying to figure out how to solve his parents' insolvency, beat depression, and get laid before pushing off to college. Luckily he's got a nifty deal with a psychiatrist, Dr. Squires, who trades him therapy sessions for weed. It happens that the oddball doctor's marriage is crumbling, so the two-one in late adolescence, the other in late middle-age-embark on messy passages into new life stages. As Luke falls for a classmate who just happens to be Squires's daughter, the summer heats up, and he follows doctor's orders, learning to coexist with pain and make it part of him, rather than let it become his downfall. The Wackness plays like the luscious rush of first love, discovering great new music, meeting amazing personalities who impart the meaning of life, and realizing what you're made of. Perfectly capturing the textures of 1990s Manhattan and the zeitgeist of worldly, yet emotionally unformed, private-school students forced to parent their parents, director Jonathan Levine conveys a whimsy, too-buoyed by the dazzlingly funny Ben Kingsley and unexpected stylistic flourishes-that gives the film's insights and idiosyncrasies big, glorious, flapping wings.

Wave

TITLE: Wave
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Dennis Gansel / Christian Becker, Nina Maag
COUNTRY: Germany
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 101
SOURCE:
TEXT: Based on Todd Strasser's novel. When Rainer Wegner, a popular high school teacher, finds himself relegated to teaching autocracy as part of the school's project week, he's less than enthusiastic. So are his students, who greet the prospect of studying fascism yet again with apathetic grumbling: "The Nazis sucked. We get it." Struck by the teenagers' complacency and unwitting arrogance, Rainer devises an unorthodox experiment. But his hastily conceived lesson in social orders and the power of unity soon grows a life of its own. In probing the underpinnings of fascism, The Wave is far from a social-studies lesson. As with his previous film, Before the Fall, director Dennis Gansel fashions an energetic, gripping drama that cuts through superficial ideological interrogatives and goes straight for the veins--the human psychologies and individual behaviors that contribute to collective movements. In unpeeling the emotional layers and contradictions of his characters (the need to belong, to be empowered, to escape social distinctions), Gansel offers a humanistic perspective on the terrifying irony that these students may welcome the very things they denounce. And lest we too easily dismiss this cautionary tale, it's noteworthy that the true story that prompted Todd Strasser's novel The Wave (from which the film was adapted) did not take place in Germany, but at a high school in Palo Alto.

Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired

TITLE: Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Marina Zenovich / Steven Soderbergh, Randy Wooten, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, Lila Yacoub
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 75
SOURCE:
TEXT: Documentary. Roman Polanski is certainly admired and respected as one of the world's great film directors. But his reputation has been forever tarnished by his public conviction for having unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor some 30 years ago and his subsequent flight from the United States to avoid going to jail. At least that's what everyone thinks. In her riveting reopening of this controversial and, as it turns out, very complex case, filmmaker Marina Zenovich fashions a perceptive and intelligent exploration of what really happened those many years ago and casts a very different light on Polanski's decision as well as the workings of the legal system. Revisiting all of the key players--the lawyers, the victim, and the media--and focusing on the conduct of the judge whose handling of the case was definitely unusual, as well as unearthing telling footage from the past and incorporating insightful interviews from the present, Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired develops a case for a clear miscarriage of justice. But far from being an apologia for Polanski, the film is simply trying to bring comprehension and clarity to events long clouded by myths and presumptions. Sure to raise questions and perhaps resolve the limbo that still envelops Polanski, this documentary is one that you won't want to miss
Underneath it all, it is a story of a Jewish boy who survived Nazi Poland and became a celebrated success, and a poor Jewish boy from NYC who made it to Harvard and became a celebrated Judge in LA and respected member of the top Jewish country club. And they then met in the courtroom of laws and pubic celebrity at a time when a short Polish Jew with an accent could be seen as a monster

What Just Happened?

TITLE: What Just Happened?
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Barry Levinson
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 107
SOURCE:
TEXT: Screenwriter: Art Linson. Every profession has its share of outlandish behavior, and filmmaking is fabled as an industry where behind-the-scenes stories are often more fascinating than the productions. But as the setting for a tale about power, decision making, and life at the top, maybe Hollywood isn't any more extreme or bizarre than the worlds of Wall Street, publishing, or even the military. Which is not to say that the rocky road for a Hollywood producer is ever mundane or dull. The vision that Academy Award-winning director Barry Levinson's sometimes-mordant, often-penetrating, and fiercely comic chronicle brings to the screen is as human and universal as any insider's tale, a story about a man at the top of his game who has to deal with prima donnas, crazy artists, shameless egotists, and difficult marriages. This adaptation of Art Linson's account of his day-to-day existence as a studio producer resonates with truth, insight, and the absurdity that often fills our lives. Because it's personal and detailed and virtuously enacted by Robert DeNiro and a spectacular supporting cast, it's even touching. Not only in Hollywood is maintaining your dignity so difficult; life is a humbling experience for all of us. Check out the tattoo

Where in the World Is Osama bin Laden?

TITLE: Where in the World Is Osama bin Laden?
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Morgan Spurlock
COUNTRY: France
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 93
SOURCE: Weinstein
TEXT: Morgan Spurlock, director of the unforgettable Super Size Me (2004 Festival), returns with a surprising follow-up: his search for the most wanted man on earth. And as he did with fast food, he's determined to go the distance. Amazed by Osama bin Laden's success at evading capture, gung-ho Spurlock sets out to locate the Al Qaeda leader himself in a manhunt that takes him to Egypt, Morocco, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and finally Pakistan (where most fingers point). Bin Laden is always one step ahead, but along the way the documentarian forms a picture of the Middle Eastern populations whose fates are inextricably intertwined with those in the United States. Who are these people? What are the culture and socioeconomic determinants of radical fundamentalism? Who in the Middle East appreciates a good joke? Determined to get his man and some answers, Spurlock leaves no stone unturned. It's dizzying to witness him ambling amiably into ultra-Orthodox Israeli neighborhoods (in Jerusalem a near riot occurs) and a Saudi mosque, where God's wrath is invoked against America, as well as the malls and supermarkets peopled by moderates who are seldom seen on the nightly news: just the kind of temperature reading many Americans would like to take, if they dared. Outrageous graphics, original music, and an appeal for a higher consciousness among global neighbors are the fries and shake alongside this Happy Meal of a documentary. S

Momma's Man

TITLE: Momma's Man
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Azazel Jacobs
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 95
SOURCE:
TEXT: Cast: Matt Boren, Flo Jacobs, Ken Jacobs, Dana Varon, Richard Edson, Eleanor Hutchins. There is a trend in the world today of young men not wanting to leave their parents' homes. But what happens when a "boy" who has already left the nest gets this same urge? Momma's Man begins with Mikey returning to his parents' place in New York after deciding not to get on the plane to go home to his wife and small child in California. Unsure of his own motivations, he makes up excuses about why he is staying. His doting mother is more than happy to enable his procrastination, while his father remains typically distanced from the situation. As the days go on, Mikey grows more and more entrenched in his adolescent sanctuary and comes to a point where he must choose his life now or his life then. Humorous and poignant, Momma's Man wrestles with universal themes, but its strength lies in its deeply personal details. Writer/director Azazel Jacobs cast his own parents and shot the film in their apartment, where he grew up. Exquisite camerawork captures the nooks and crannies of the unique dwelling, as well as the family's intimate moments. Whether it's art imitating life, or life imitating art, Jacobs has crafted a profoundly humane account of the frailty of the human spirit, and he shows how the defining strength that people get from their families can also be a tether.

Love Comes Lately

TITLE: Love Comes Lately
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Jan Schütte
COUNTRY: Germany
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 86
SOURCE:
TEXT: Cast includes: Otto Tausig, Rhea Perlman, Tovah Feldshuh, Barbara Hershey, Elizabeth Peña. A self-pointed bachelor living in New York City, Max Kohn (Otto Tausig) is an accomplished writer whose waking life regularly commingles with his imaginary one. Max's longtime girlfriend, Riesle (Rhea Pearlman), is the perfect rock to which Max anchors himself, but she is absolutely certain in her suspicion that Max is cheating on her. Love Comes Lately is a film about real and imagined longings, the never-ending dream of love, and the power of fiction. On several occasions, we fall down the rabbit hole of Max's imagination, where he embodies the lives of both a retiree named Simon and a sympathetic gent named Henry. During these sojourns into Max's head and manuscripts, love and murder are just part of the landscape. Max's real life takes an interesting turn when he runs into Rosalie (Barbara Hershey), a former student who always had a crush on him. In Love Comes Lately, director Jan Schütte masterfully evokes many quirky and wonderfully detailed worlds that seamlessly shift between reality and fantasy. Based on a collection of short stories by Nobel Prize-winning author Isaac Bashevis Singer, Love Comes Lately is a reminder to enjoy the present-in all its variations.

kids + money

TITLE: kids + money
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Lauren Greenfield
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 32
SOURCE:
TEXT: Short Film by famed photographer Lauren Greenfield. Our favorite bar mitzvah photographer has made a film. Money talks. Los Angeles teens discuss money: getting it, spending it, and learning to live without it. Watch it closely and you will realize just how JEWISH this film is. Perfect for Jewish youth groups

Linguists

TITLE: Linguists
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Seth Kramer, Daniel Miller, Jeremy Newberger
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 70
SOURCE:
TEXT: Documentary. Came about after thinking about Yiddish. Like modern-day explorers, the two academics featured in The Linguists travel to forgotten places around the globe to unearth rare treasures-in this case, endangered languages. On a shoestring budget, professors David Harrison and Gregory Anderson navigate difficult terrain, searching for speakers of these forgotten and mostly hidden languages. While more than 7,000 different languages are currently spoken around the world, many are rapidly disappearing. Language diversity is shrinking as colonialism and economic unrest destroy traditional tribal tongues. When young people abandon their ancestral language, the passive suppression of their culture begins, and soon those languages will cease to exist. Joining a traditional ceremony in a remote village in India, observing a Kallawaya healing ritual in Bolivia, and completing an arduous journey into Siberia is all part and parcel of heeding the urgent call. The word connoisseurs are well suited for the monumental task of researching and documenting native tongues; they speak 25 languages between them. These humble ethnographers are in a race against time to preserve the increasingly rare words, which are intricately linked to the vanishing traditions and heritage of Indigenous populations. Well-paced and laced with humor, The Linguists serves as an insightful, contemporary adventure film with a strong emphasis on cultural history.

My Olympic Summer

TITLE: My Olympic Summer
YEAR: 2007
DIR/PROD: Daniel Robin
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 12
SOURCE:
TEXT: Against the backdrop of the hostage crisis at the 1972 Munich Olympic games, the filmmaker looks at home video footage of his parents when they were young in hopes of understanding how they kept the magic.

Damaged Goods

TITLE: Damaged Goods
YEAR: 2009
DIR/PROD: Aya Somech / Yoav Roeh and Aurit Zamir
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English subititles
TIME: 90
SOURCE: GumFilms.com info@gumfilms.com
TEXT: Written by Michal Vinik. When Michal was 17, she and her twin sister took an interest in religion. Michal was more observant for four years. For her sister, is was longer. Her sister is entrenched in Orthodoxy. "Everything Runs In The Family. Especially Lies." Rafael, 32, is an ex-Orthodox Jewish man who has left his religion and country and lives in Marseilles, He is estranged from his family, and moved away 10 years ago. At a time of crisis, he returns to Israel to ask for money. He needs 100,000 Euros or willend up in jail. After landing in Israel, he goes to a store and buys a black hat and coat to fit into his Orthodox family. But he can't afford them and steals them. But Rahel, the saleswoman, it turns out, is the fiancé of his brother. Will she hide his secret? And what about what he tells his father, since his father cannot accept failure. And what about the secret Rahel is hiding underneath her long skirt? Note to file: Director Aya Somech's short film, Questions of a Dead Worker, won a prize at the Cannes Film Festival Cinefoundation (2002)

The People v Leo Frank

TITLE: The People v Leo Frank
YEAR: 2009
DIR/PROD: Ben Loeterman
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 82
SOURCE: Ben Loeterman -- ben@blpi.tv
TEXT: In 1913 Atlanta, a child worker is found dead in the basement of the National Pencil Company. The police soon focus on Mary Phagan's boss, a Jewish engineer recently arrived from New York - Leo Frank. Frank's murder trial becomes a free-for-all of racial stereotypes and contradictions. He is found guilty largely on the say of the state's star witness, Jim Conley, a black factory sweeper. Leo Frank is sentenced to death, but his story is far from over. Frank's lawyers appeal the conviction 13 times, all the way to the US Supreme Court. Meanwhile, The New York Times leads a crusade to exonerate Frank. At the eleventh hour, Georgia's Governor John Slaton concludes that Frank had not received a fair trial and commutes his sentence from death to life in prison. But Slaton's decision ignites a backlash. On a hot August afternoon, 25 men in seven cars drive more than 100 miles to the state penitentiary, walk in and-without any resistance- abduct Frank. They drive him to an oak grove near Mary Phagan's childhood home. A noose is put around his neck and the small table on which he has been hoisted is kicked out from under him. THE PEOPLE v LEO FRANK weaves first-rate drama with recollections, commentary, and a rich trove of archival images. Will Janowitz (The Sopranos) stars as Leo Frank and Seth Gilliam (The Wire) plays Jim Conley with a script drawn directly from the historical record.

Zion And His Brother

TITLE: Zion and His Brother
YEAR: 2009
DIR/PROD: Eran Merav
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Bebrew with English subtitles
TIME: 90
SOURCE:
TEXT: Sundance 2009. It is an Israeli drama by Eran Merav ("Underdogs"), and co-stars Ronit Elkabetz ("The Band's Visit," "Or," "Late Marriage") as Ilana. In the film Zion (Reuven Badalov), 14, is always fighting with his older brother Meir (Ofer Hayun), 17. They live in a poor area of Haifa with their mother, Ilana, 35; the brothers wait each week for a call from their estranged father at a neighborhood pay phone. Also present is Ilana's current boyfriend who is pressing her to choose between him and her children. A train passes through the neighborhood, behind the buildings every 20 minutes. No one from this area waits for it, and it never stops. It is hot and sticky, the sun mercilessly parches the landscape, and one evening, Solomon, 14, an even lower-class son of Ethiopian immigrants, an outsider living among outsiders, is killed in an accident. Zion must decide whether to keep a secret to himself or tell someone. The coming of age film for both vulnerable brothers created a good amount of buzz for its story and its symbolic cinematography, a scene of rows of similar apartment blocks and sameness which cut the people off from the Sea. What starts as a story about a kid looking for his lost pair of shoes becomes a brutal family drama filled with paranoia and pain. Merav, the writer/director, wanted to recreate the poor area of Kiryat Yam where he grew up, but it has since been gentrified, so the film was shot in a poor area north of Haifa filled with dialogues he heard as a teen. In his first three Sundance Film Festival screenings, no one asked a political oriented question, which was surprising to Merav. He had expected the French/Israel production to generate a question or two on the current situation in Gaza, and was prepared to lend his opinions, but the post screening questions concerned the film, its production, casting, and the relationship of brothers in general. Merav attended both the Camera Obscura and Sam Spiegel School of TV and Film schools and is an alumnus of the Sundance Lab, which helped him to hone his screenplay writing and directorial skills. He said that the film tells a universal story of an alienated immigrant society filled with despair and on the edge of economic catastrophe and that, "it has no specific place or language. It could take place in any country of the world. Nevertheless, it draws it relevance from its local Israeli colour. It is a strong, straightforward and cruel story, told with compassion, with love and with humor."

Bait

TITLE: Bait
YEAR: 2008
DIR/PROD: Michal Vinik
COUNTRY: Israel
LANGUAGE: Hebrew with English subtitles
TIME: 12 minutes short
SOURCE:
TEXT: Vinik's film is about a tomboy named Nitzan, living near Ashdod, who plans to go out for a day of fishing. But she instead accompanies her sister to the beach. They hitchhike and are given a ride by a Filipino guest worker who is heading to a nearby moshav. He joins them for an afternoon of swimming, tanning, and more. The audience if left to determine exactly what Nitzan is fishing for.
Vinik graduated from the Film and Television Department at Tel-Aviv University and she teaches scriptwriting at Tel-Aviv University's Minshar School of Art and the Beit Berl Academic College.

Mary and Max

TITLE: Mary and Max
YEAR: 2009
DIR/PROD: Adam Elliot
COUNTRY: Australia
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 90
SOURCE: IFCfilms.com
TEXT: Opening Night film at Sundance 2009. MARY AND MAX, is an Australian animated feature that is written and directed by Adam Elliot, an Oscar recipient and Sundance veteran (not Jewish). The film features the voices of Philip Seymour Hoffman (not Jewish), Barry Humphries (aka Dame Edna), Eric Bana and Tony Collette. The claymation style film is about a pen pal friendship that has endured for over two decades between Mary Dinkle, an eight year old girl in a Melbourne suburb with an absent father and drunk mother, and Max Horowitz, a 44 year old obese Jewish man who lives a black and gray isolation in New York City. Max suffers from Ausperger's Syndrome, wears a kippah, remains an athiest, and was born on a kibbutz in Israel. His diet consists of fish sticks and kugels. And he throws in a Yiddish term when he mails his letters. (this is based on a true story, sort of, since the director had a pen pal as a late teen with a Ausperger's Jewish man from Staten Island, whom he never actually met) The film is happy, sad, and poignant and follows the lives of Mary and Max as they age and grow.

William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe

TITLE: William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe
YEAR: 2009
DIR/PROD: Emily Kunstler, Sarah Kunstler
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 90
SOURCE: http://www.disturbingtheuniverse.com/
TEXT: A documentary by two of the late Attorney Kunstler's daughters, which explores his history of civil rights litigation, but also his defense of a mobster, accused rapists and the murderer of Rabbi Meir Kahane. Was he a saint or sinner?
One of the most infamous lawyers of the twentieth century, William Kunstler liked to shake things up. Filmmakers Emily and Sarah Kunstler explore their father's life and legacy: from middle-class family man to celebrated radical activist to "the most hated lawyer in America."Kunstler's resume is one for the storybooks. He fought for civil rights with Martin Luther King Jr. and catapulted to the world stage by defending the Chicago Seven. Soon Kunstler became the go-to guy for the radical left. When inmates rioted at Attica prison or Native Americans took on the federal government at Wounded Knee, they chose Kunstler as their lawyer. In the 1970s, when Emily and Sarah were growing up, their father transitioned away from civil-rights cases. Lured to the limelight of high-profile criminal cases, Kunstler represented accused rapists, terrorists, and Mafia bosses. Being on the unpopular side of the infamous Central Park jogger trial was perhaps the linchpin that triggered his fall from grace. Was the real William Kunstler a hero or a villain? A defender of the defenseless or an egomaniac drawn to fame? Eschewing white-hat, black-hat simplicity, Emily and Sarah Kunstler share a provocative and deeply personal journey as they paint a complex portrait of a man whose life mirrors the battles that forever defined our history.

Amreeka

TITLE: Amreeka
YEAR: 2009
DIR/PROD: Cherien Dabis
COUNTRY: Canada, Kuwait, USA
LANGUAGE: English and Arabic with English ST
TIME: 96
SOURCE:
TEXT: Director Cherien Dabis's auspicious debut feature, Amreeka, is a warm and lighthearted film about one Palestinian family's tumultuous journey into Diaspora amidst the cultural fallout of America's war in Iraq. Muna Farah, a Palestinian single mom, struggles to maintain her optimistic spirit in the daily grind of intimidating West Bank checkpoints, the constant nagging of a controlling mother, and the haunting shadows of a failed marriage. Everything changes one day when she receives a letter informing her that her family has been granted a U.S. green card. Reluctant to leave her homeland, but realizing it may be the only way to secure a future for Fadi, her teenage son, Muna decides to quit her job at the bank and visit her relatives in Illinois to see about a new life in a land that gives newcomers a run for their money. Dabis weaves an abundance of humor and levity into this tale of struggle, displacement, and nostalgia and draws an absorbing and irresistibly charming performance from actress Nisreen Faour as Muna, who stands at the heart of this tale. Amreeka glows with the truth and magic of everyday life and signals the arrival of an exciting, new directorial talent.
CAST: Nisreen Faour, Melkar Muallem (he attends school in Jerusalem), Hiam Abbass, Yussuf Abu-Warda, Alia Shawkat, Joseph Ziegler (as the Jewish school principal)
Note to File SPOILER SPOILER: Some of the high school scenes are based on what actually happened after 9/11 to Dabis‘ family. Also when patients leave the physician.. This actually happened to her father after 9/11. He was a beloved doctor in their town, saved many lives, but after 9/11, a whisper campaign started that he had a secret son fighting against America, etc. The White Castle was a set built in Canada. People actually dropped by there to eat while the crew was filming. In real life, it was the vice principal that helped the director‘s family. As for why he was made Jewish in the film… you need to ask the director.

Art & Copy

TITLE: Art & Copy
YEAR: 2009
DIR/PROD: Doug Pray
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: English
TIME: 86
SOURCE:
TEXT: Got creativity? Got manipulation? Got art? Advertising's profound effect on modern culture is unquestionable. Art & Copy takes us inside a powerful, yet surprisingly unknown, industry to reveal the most influential creative forces tapping the zeitgeist of our time. Think of those commercials we can never seem to get out of our heads. Each one is the brain child of an industry typically associated with pandering and manipulation. Is great advertising actually a rare and rebellious accomplishment more akin to-dare I say it-art?Beginning in the 1960s, a creative revolution revitalized the advertising industry. Bill Bernbach launched the Volkswagen Beetle, prompting viewers to "think small." Dan Wieden coined "Just Do It" and forever changed the way we motivate ourselves athletically. Phyllis Robinson empowered the "me generation" with a Clairol tagline. Hal Riney all but insured Reagan's reelection with heart-tugging TV ads. Mary Wells Lawrence reinvented the big bad apple via her "I love NY" campaign. George Lois gave Tommy Hilfiger the makeover of a lifetime, while Cliff Freeman wondered "Where's the beef?" and Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein asked, "Got Milk?" Renowned documentary filmmaker Doug Pray (Scratch, Surfwise) intermingles dazzling footage of TV satellites being launched and billboards being erected with some of the most remarkable ad campaigns of all time. Like the talented subjects he profiles, Pray creates a rousing synthesis of art, commerce, and human emotion.

Pomegranates and Myrrh

TITLE: Pomegranates and Myrrh
YEAR: 2009
DIR/PROD: Najwa Najjar
COUNTRY: USA
LANGUAGE: Arabic with English ST
TIME: 95
SOURCE:
TEXT: Dancer Kamar's joyful wedding to Zaid is followed almost immediately by Zaid's imprisonment in an Israeli jail for refusing to give up his land. Free-spirited Kamar wants to support her husband and be a dutiful wife but struggles with the idea of giving up dance and her own dreams. Matters are complicated when a new dance instructor, Kais, returns to the studio after many years in Lebanon and takes a special interest in Kamar. She struggles to deal with the weight of Kais's attention, which brings to the surface her attempts to balance her own desires with her duties as the wife of a prisoner.Like the character of Kamar herself, Najwa Najjar's filmmaking (in her debut feature) is matter-of-fact about Kamar's situation. Instead of manufacturing melodrama, Najjar stays focused on her protagonist's insistence on seeing her life, like anyone else's, as an opportunity for joy. The constant interference of the external conflict-her husband's arrest, the squatters on her land, and the soldiers filling the streets-is an unavoidable aspect of Kamar's existence but one that she will not allow to deter her. Najjar's intimate storytelling and Yasmine Al Massri's sensitive portrayal of Kamar create a film that addresses honestly the way a woman might face the realities of life in modern-day Palestine while refusing to be defined by them. CAST: Hiam Abbass, Ali Suleiman,Yasmine Al Massri, Ashraf Farah, Yousef Abu Wardeh, Samia Kuzmoz Bakri
I personally liked the aspects on a woman trying to fight the constraints of tradition, but the polemic anti Israel were a drawback. The settlers are uni-dimensional and portrayed as fat louts and terroristic. See my write up in the Jewish Journal. When shown in Ramallah in March 2009, Palestinian pundits were irritated by the film since it portrayed the wife of a prisoner poorly, and made Israeli prison life not grotesque enough. For example,although it opened the Dubai Fest and appeared at Sundance and Berlin, but Hamashas campaigned against it since it negatively portrayed the prisoners' wives. But a counter campaign for the film was led by Palestinian novelist Lina Bader. The film won Arab and international praise for its courage in tackling some of Palestine's more difficult issues. But the hardest and most obnoxious reviewers were back at home. The fiction movie is ... The film won Arab and international praise for its courage in tackling some of Palestine's more difficult issues. But the hardest and most obnoxious reviewers were back at home. The fiction movie is ...

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http://www.jewishfilm.com -- Revised: 1/15/98, 7/5/98, March 1999, August 2006, January 2009
Copyright © 1996-2009 Jewish Film Archive online website, Larry Mark, webmaster gadol
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