January 19, 2006
A Blizzard of Flicks for Jewish Eyes
At the Sundance wintertime festival, which began Jan. 19 and runs through Jan. 29, Jewish viewers can check out a blizzard of flicks, including:
Opening night film, "Friends With Money" (Jennifer Aniston, Jason Isaacs), spotlighting successful adults approaching midlife crisis. It's the latest feature by Jewish writer-director Nicole Holofcener, whose self-deprecating comedy-dramas have been compared to the work of Woody Allen -- not surprising, because her stepfather produced all of Allen's films, and she virtually grew up on his sets.
Paul McGuigan's "Lucky Number Slevin," revolving around a Jewish mobster, "The Rabbi"; his arch rival (Morgan Freeman), and the chaos that ensues when the Jew declines to pick up his phone on Shabbat.
Tony Krawitz's "Jewboy" (Australia), about an Orthodox youth searching for his place in the world (See last week's story at www.jewishjournal.com).
Anders Thomas Jensen's "Adam's Apples" (Denmark), a black comedy spotlighting a disgruntled neo-Nazi sentenced to community service at church
Yoav Shamir's documentary, "Five Days" (Israel), on the historic evacuation of 8,000 even more disgruntled Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip.
Frieda Lee Mock's "Wrestling With Angels: Playwright Tony Kushner," which profiles the Pulitzer Prize winner who was raised Jewish on a bayou and channels Jewish themes into his work.
Alan Berliner's "Wide Awake," a self-portrait of the odd filmmaker's insomnia, manias and obsessiveness.
Lian Lunson's "Leonard Cohen I'm Your Man" (See main story).
Rex Bloomstein's documentary, "KZ" (United Kingdom), about contemporary Germans living in the shadow of the Mauthausan concentration camp (See last week's piece).
Tiffany Shlain's short documentary, "The Tribe: An Unorthodox, Unauthorized History of the Jewish People and the Barbie Doll," on how the busty blond figure -- created by a Jewish American -- serves as a metaphor of Jewish assimilation and identity
For film schedules and information, visit festival.sundance.org/2006.
Simultaneously, the sixth annual SchmoozeDance and KidzDance festivals -- the Jewish counterpart to Sundance on Jan. 20-21 -- kick off with a screening of Amos Gitai's "Free Zone at Temple Har Shalom" in Park City, Utah. The Israeli film focuses on a confused American (Natalie Portman) on a road trip with a bickering Israeli and Palestinian. For information, visit www.jewishfilm.com.