The best of current French cinema screens this week at the City of Lights, City of Angels Film Festival. The only one of the featured films presented in English, "Esther Kahn" follows the young daughter of Jewish immigrants in 19th century London. Esther feels nothing, she does not know how to be a person, so she tries to imitate her family and others around her. Her skills lead her to a life on the stage and the audience to a lesson in what it means to be human. $7 (general admission); $5 (seniors and students). 7 p.m. Directors Guild of America, 7920 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles. For a full schedule of the City of Light, City of Angels Film Festival, or more information, call (310) 206-8013 or visit www.cityoflightsfestival.org.
Gregg Lachow's absurdist stories and insightful character studies have won his independent films rave reviews and a weekend retrospective at the American Cinematheque. Tonight's double feature starts with "Money Buys Happiness," in which a bickering suburban couple unexpectedly inherit a piano. As wife Georgia goes off in search of a mysterious admirer, her husband attempts to push the piano home in time to prepare for Shabbat. $8 (general admission); $7 (seniors and students); $6 (members). 7:15 p.m. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. For a full schedule or more information, call (323) 466-3456.
The most notorious Nazi war criminal still alive, Alois Brunner, has lived in Syria since 1959, advising the government in Damascus on intelligence matters. Recently tried in absentia in Paris for crimes against humanity, Brunner continues to evade justice. The documentary "Alois Brunner: The Last Nazi," examines the search for Brunner and the country that continues to protect him. 7 p.m. Kehillat Israel, 16019 Sunset Blvd., Pacific Palisades. For reservations, call (310) 689-3612. Also screening Tues., April 17, 7 p.m. Museum of Tolerance, 9786 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. For reservations, call (310) 772-2529.
Though she's not yet graduated from Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies, 17-year-old soprano Hallie Silverston has already performed as a featured soloist with groups from CSUN's Teenage Drama Workshop to the Opera Guild of Southern California. Her performance today, part of the University of Judaism University Women's Young Artist series, includes classic songs and arias along with songs in Yiddish from the Warsaw Ghetto. $10 (concert); $20 (concert and luncheon). 11 a.m. Gindi Auditorium, 15600 Mulholland Drive, Bel Air. For more information, call (310) 476-9777 ext. 283.
Esther Raab managed to escape from the Sobibor concentration camp in 1943, but escape from grief and memory is an even more daunting task. "Dear Esther," a play by Richard Rashke of "Escape From Sobibor" fame, takes a novel approach to this emotional journey. The play's two main characters are two versions of Esther, her present-day self and her younger alter ego. The dialogue between Esthers is played out in a staged reading tonight starring the mother-daughter team of Barbara Bain and Juliet Landau. $15 (general admission); free (Wilshire Boulevard Temple members). 7:30 p.m. Also Thu., April 19, 7:30 p.m. Wilshire Boulevard Temple, Irmas campus, 11661 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles. For reservations, call (213) 388-2401.
Hip-hop trailblazers the Wu-Tang Clan are legendary as one of the most successful, innovative and notorious rap groups around. So how did a track from their 1998 compilation "Wu-Tang Killa Bees: The Swarm" wind up in a live performance during Yom Kippur services in Beverly Hills? That's a question for Ross Filler, a k a Remedy, the Wu-Tang protégé whose Holocaust-themed song "Never Again" combines the heavy, rage-inflected beats that define hip-hop with a young Jew's sensibility. "Never Again" is one of a handful of Jewish-themed tracks on Remedy's new solo album, "The Genuine Article," released April 17.
"Keep the River on Your Right: A Modern Cannibal Tale" tells Tobias Schneebaum's astonishing story, as the now 78-year-old revisits the Peruvian and Indonesian jungles where he lived in the 1950s and '60s. A gay, Jewish New York painter, Schneebaum took a fellowship to paint in Peru as an opportunity to join in the native lifestyle. Among the Asmat tribe of New Guinea, that lifestyle included the cannibalism that makes for a sensationalistic story, but also a cultural intermingling that raises more important and interesting questions. Daily 5:10 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 9:50 p.m.; also Saturday and Sunday at 12:30 p.m. and 2:50 p.m. Through April 26. Landmark's Nuart, 11272 Santa Monica Blvd., West L.A. For more information, call (310) 478-6379.
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