“My country, Israel, is full of contradictions and volcanic eruptions. We fluctuate between extremes. One morning you say peace is at hand and all problems will be resolved. The next day, it’s the apocalypse.” The thumbnail description comes from Amos Gitai, who, more than any other Israeli filmmaker, has explored the emotional peaks and valleys of his people in more than 40 feature films and documentaries.
Such quintessential "biz" questions proved to be hot topics for a select group of 25 film and television professionals from Los Angeles and Tel Aviv as they sat in a conference room July 13 at The Jewish Federation's Goldsmith Center. It was still early in the morning on the first full day of the ninth annual Master Class in Cinema and Television, but already people seemed to be in the throes of furious note-taking as they listened to tricks-of-the-trade advice from several Hollywood veterans.
Amid the celebrities and paparazzi crowding the Cannes Film Festival last week, Katriel Schory roamed the bustling boulevard Croisette like a proud parent. "Israeli cinema has never had such a presence here," Schory, director of the Israel Film Fund, said via the cell phone that seems attached to his ear.
There is an old Jewish saying that if you change your place, you change your luck. The organizers of the 21st annual Israel Film Festival are putting it to the test.
In 1956's "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," a mannequin-like figure mysteriously appears on a billiards table, a half-formed thing without hair, face or fingerprints. Meanwhile, a woman insists that her uncle isn't her uncle, but an imposter who looks just like him; husbands say the same of their wives and children of their parents.
What you notice in almost every shot is the hair: abundant, snow-white, carefully coiffed.
It's an apt metaphor for Jacques Derrida's mind, which is prolific with ideas, yet well-ordered and consistent in its probity and depth. In a new documentary, filmmakers Amy Ziering Kofman and Kirby Dick make arresting cinema from the mind, memories and habits of a man whose life has been devoted to thought.
Derrida, a Jew born in Algeria in 1930, is identified with deconstructionism, a system of thought that challenges established assumptions about the knowledge of what is true and real. But the 85-minute film is far from a static parade of talking heads. Exposition of Derrida's ideas comes mostly through voice-over readings from his books that accompany shots of the philosopher walking from one place to another or scenes of a gritty, industrial Paris rushing past a moving car.
In "Hit and Runway," a straight Italian-American naif teams up with a gay Jew to write a screenplay. In "Aimee & Jaguar," a Jewish woman and a Nazi's wife begin a torrid affair. In "Man is a Woman," a gay man marries a woman, a Yiddish singer, who has never known a man.
Sixty one and still full of surprises, that'sWarren Beatty. This weekend, Beatty goes head to head at the boxoffice with "The Horse Whisperer," starring that other senior iconRobert Redford. Redford, like his contemporary Beatty, not only starsbut also directs and produces his movie. May the best man win.
The list of films for which Elmer Bernstein has written orchestral scores reads like a roll call of cinema's all-time classics: "The Ten Commandments," "The Age of Innocence," "The Magnificent Seven," "Ghostbusters," "To Kill A Mockingbird," "CapeFear," "True Grit," "Animal House," "The Great Escape," "My Left Foot"...just to name a few.