The long forecast “Holocaust fatigue” among filmmakers and their audiences has not yet arrived, judging by the entries for 2013 Oscar honors by producers and directors in numerous countries.
For Academy Award-winning actor Tim Robbins, who founded Actors’ Gang and serves as its artistic director, presenting plays that are relevant to our time is paramount for the company. To that end, the Culver City-based theater’s current offering is the U.S. premiere of “Oy,” a tale set in 1995 of two German-Jewish sisters, Selma (Mary Eileen O’Donnell), age 89, and Jenny (Jeanette Horn), age 86, who have accepted an invitation to visit Osnabrück, the town in Hanover, Germany, where they were raised and which they left as Hitler was consolidating his power. Because the sisters are among the dwindling number of survivors with recollections of the Nazi era, the town’s mayor has invited them to come to bear witness to that history for the younger generation.
The Israel Project named its chief operating and financial officer as the interim chief executive officer to replace the retiring Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi.
Cathy Bolinger joined The Israel Project in 2005 and has been responsible for its day-to-day operations.
Israeli director Alma Har’el took top honors at the Tribeca Film Festival in the documentary category. “Bombay Beach,” her feature-length film, follows three down-and-out residents of a ghost town on the Salton Sea, a surrealistic landscape in Southern California filled with losers and dreamers.
Director Sidney Lumet, who started his career as a child actor in the Yiddish theater and whose films examining social justice in America stand as landmarks of his craft, died April 9 of lymphoma at his New York City home. He was 86.
Susanne Bier, whose Danish film, “In a Better World,” is a favorite for Oscar honors, is an anomaly.
A former CIA director asked for a wiretap on a Jewish congresswoman after she allegedly agreed to intervene on behalf of two indicted former AIPAC staffers.
Anger has begun to supplant shock as those who contribute to prominent Jewish charities or work on their behalf gasp for comprehension of the unprecedented percussion that the Bernard L. Madoff investment fraud is having on their favorite causes.
" . . . Do I like to have fun? Yeah. Do I like to enjoy myself, enjoy my life? Yeah. But I'm not a decadent person. I'm not into dark stuff. I'm just a nice Jewish kid from Miami Beach who loves movies and pretty girls . . . ."
"I really, really believe that I have the skills, the courage, the conviction and the know-how to make a difference in the peace process in the Middle East."
"I remember at an early age being told in school that Jews were a minority in the world," filmmaker Azazel Jacobs mused. "And I remember just not believing that because I lived in New York City and thinking they must have things wrong because I was surrounded by so many Jews. That was the whole world to me."
Current statistics suggests that, even though France is depicted as less than empathetic to the Jewish community, the Jewish population there has actually grown.
When writer/director Morgan Spurlock ("Super Size Me") discovered he was going to become a father two years ago, he was concerned about the tumultuous state of the world into which his child was being born. Spurlock's wish was to give his child a safer and more harmonious place to live. So, after a crash course in combat survival, the filmmaker set off on a journey through the Middle East to find the one man who has shaped the world's perception of that region in recent years: Osama bin Laden. The results of that quest are documented in his new film, "Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden?"
Aside from overrated CGI explosions, deafening sound systems and validated parking, the movie-going experience isn't exactly as thrilling as it once was. That's why director Jeffrey Schwarz wants to remind audiences of cinema's earlier pleasures with the documentary "Spine Tingler," which highlights the career of horror director and crazed '50s and '60s film marketer William Castle.
Gordon Davidson is back where he belongs, in the director's chair. The man whose name is practically synonymous with Los Angeles theater, who raised the city's reputation from a provincial backwater to the breeding ground for innovative and controversial plays, retired in the summer of 2005 as founding artistic director of the Center Theatre Group. Now he has resumed his craft, not at the Mark Taper Forum, the site of many of his triumphs and some failures for 38 seasons, but at the more modest venue of the Strasberg Creative Center's Marilyn Monroe Theatre in West Hollywood.
Summer movies provide thrills, chills and laughs and are more noted for their special effects and star actors than for the acting and the seriousness of their purpose. Which makes this a good time to visit with Mark Rydell, a man whose more than 50-year career as an actor, director and producer speaks of his integrity, his commitment to being an artist and his devotion to the craft of acting.
Before David Rouda became a stage director and writer, he was an internationally ranked rower who placed 17th in the 1999 World Rowing Championships. Rouda, who started training as a sculler at 13, won six Gold Medals at the Maccabee Games and just missed qualifying for the 2000 Olympics.
Conlon became a maestro with a mission: to help revive the music of composers banned (and often murdered) by the Nazis.
TV veteran Jack Bender will attend the Emmy Awards this Sunday. He's nominated again this year in the category of Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for his work on the hit ABC show "Lost," for which he is also an executive producer.
Just one year ago, we had proudly taken our first family vacation in Israel. The places where my kids had the most fun -- Haifa, Nahariya, Rosh Hanikra, Safed, Kiryat Shemona -- were bearing the brunt of the Katyusha attacks.
From establishing funds through the Jewish Community Foundation in Los Angeles to starting the Simha and Sara Lainer Fund for Jewish Education through the BJE of Greater Los Angeles to supporting Israel, Lainer and Sara were key supporters of the Jewish community.
Bryan Singer's first real understanding of evil came when, as a boy of 9 or 10, he dressed up as a Nazi one day while playing a World War II game with his German neighbors in Princeton Junction, N.J. He came home wearing a swastika.
Singer's mother admonished him, but it wasn't until a few years later, when his junior high school teacher, Miss Fiscarelli, taught an entire unit in social studies on the Holocaust, that he gained a greater understanding as to why his mother had been so troubled. That class changed Singer's "whole perception of what people are capable of anywhere," he said.
Miriam Prum-Hess, an experienced and admired Federation executive, took on a new role working on behalf of day schools last year, an effort to increase the level of professionalism and efficiency in all nonacademic areas. She has become the central address for day schools looking for expertise on operational issues -- fundraising strategies, legal advice, business decisions, purchasing, and human resources.
For more than two decades, Alice Greenwald has been helping to give people a palpable understanding of the Holocaust through her work with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.
"Keeping Up With the Steins" proves that you don't have to be Jewish to make a funny, insider Jewish film, or that if you grow up in the Bronx or went to school in North Hollywood, you become a Jew by osmosis.
In anticipation of Easter, a slightly modified version of "The Passion of the Christ," the film by actor and director Mel Gibson, and screenwriter Benedict Fitzgerald, has been re-released. The second coming if you will. This re-cut version is widely available in a DVD gift format.
Caroline Baron, the film's producer who worked with Hoffman on "Flawless" and has known screenwriter Dan Futterman and Miller for a number of years, said that all films present challenges, but that from the outset, she had "100 percent confidence in Bennett as a director and Phil as an actor."
It's not surprising that my husband is the first in line at one of the earliest "Kong" press screenings. He's loved the giant simian since he first watched the 1933 classic film on TV when he was 7.
Were Spielberg another too-left Hollywood type who cavalierly flirted with the tough issues posed by "Munich" with no previous record of involvement or concern about Jewish matters, one might begin to fathom the nastiness of the attacks and the gratuitous personal barbs. But he comes to the movie with a distinguished, if not unparalleled, track record of achievement vis a vis the Jewish community, Israel and its image.
Martin Scorsese has famously influenced a whole generation of American filmmakers, from Abel Ferrara and Quentin Tarantino to Rob Weiss and Nick Gomez. But his influence is not limited to filmmakers in this country.
"Match Point" marks a notable departure for Woody Allen, and not just because its story is set and was shot in England. Reminiscent in theme of "Crimes and Misdemeanors," though without the humor, there's a new tone to this film. Enough so that anybody entering the theater not knowing who made this picture would be hard pressed to guess it was Allen.
"Everybody loves this guy," said Cantor Nathan Lam of Bel Air's Reform synagogue, Stephen S. Wise Temple, and dean of the Jewish academy's cantorial school. "He's a special human being. He makes a room feel good. If you're sick, he's the guy you want to come and cheer you up."
While some admirers have envisioned Wiesenthal as a Jewish John Wayne or James Bond, the diminutive Kingsley, who has played numerous Jewish characters in his film career, including Meyer Lansky in "Bugsy" and Fagin in the current "Oliver Twist," depicts him as a much more modest man, frail after the camps, dedicated to his work, not given to swagger or seduction.
Time-honored Jewish stereotypes and caricatures have fallen on hard times in recent movies.
During a recent interview, Michael Showalter at times seemed as socially uncomfortable as the character he plays in his frothy new comedy, "The Baxter," an ode to the romantically challenged.
Although casually dressed in jeans and a blue knitted shirt, he spoke formally and sat rigidly in his chair in the lobby of Le Meridien hotel. He squeezed the black straw that came with his iced coffee, pulverizing it into a lump. He rubbed his temples and placed a hand on his chest, sighing deeply.
"If I'm coming across awkwardly," he said, "I guess my 'Baxterness' is coming out."
The 35-year-old single Jewish actor-writer-director invented the word, "Baxter," to refer to the character who never gets the girl in romantic comedies. He is the guy who has few social graces, two left feet, and not a clue of how to deliver the witty repartee that comes so effortlessly to, say, Cary Grant.
Think John Howard's character in "The Philadelphia Story," Woody Allen in "Crimes and Misdemeanors" and Albert Brooks in "Broadcast News."
Yvan Attal huddles on a velvet couch in a corner of the cavernous Chateau Marmont lobby, a study in nervous energy. The Israeli-born French actor-director, who is charming if energetic, furrows his brow and runs his fingers through his tousled black hair. It's not hard to believe that one of his film idols is Woody Allen ("I identify with his neuroses") or that he makes films that serve as personal therapy.
Consider his new dark comedy, the frenetically paced "Happily Ever After," which explores his midlife crisis. He got the idea in 2003 when he dropped his son off at preschool and noticed most of the other parents were divorced.
"I began thinking about my own life and the choices I have made, and they felt enormous and scary," he said.
I woke up Christmas Day morning with no tree, toys or eggnog, and I understood how Jewish children could feel left out on Christmas mornings as non-Jewish neighbor kids ride new bikes and try out other presents. Like Jewish kids, I had no gifts that morning.
First came God. Then came Godot. Then came Woody Allen. Actually, none of them ever showed up -- not in the play "Waiting for Godot" or the newly acclaimed short feature film parodying it, "Waiting for Woody Allen."
Brace yourself. This Sunday night, some angels, a spy, a cynic and a meddling mother-in-law are coming over to break the Fast of Gedaliah. You don't have to feed them, however. They're all part of the 56th annual Emmy Awards on Sept. 19, hosted this year by comedian Garry Shandling.
It's a bit like that with Holocaust films: The protagonists are either killed or liberated, but if they survive, we do not see how they get back to "normalcy" and cope anew with everyday life.
The modest, low-key French import "Almost Peaceful" ("Un Monde Presque Paisible") remedies this omission.
Two 15-person teams of congregants from Congregation B'nai Tzedek joined the American Cancer Society's 24-hour relay, which began Friday, June 25 at 6 p.m. in Fountain Valley.
Pearl Gluck sought her Chasidic forbears in "Divan"; Nathaniel Kahn pursued his estranged father in "My Architect," and now Lindsay Crystal unearths family stories in "My Uncle Berns," a quirky portrait of her wildly eccentric great-uncle.
For the 26-year-old director -- and daughter of Billy Crystal -- the subject isn't surprising.
She first started worrying about those on the streets in 1980, and now, 24 years later, Tanya Tull is fighting against a real estate boom that prices the low-wage earners out of the housing market and federal aid cuts that exacerbate the problem.
In Hollye Leven's new rock 'n' roll musical, "Funny Business," comedians vie for attention at a seedy nightclub.
"Arafat is a powerful symbol. But today it's very difficult to say that he has control over what's happening on the ground."
When Soviet film schools banned Vladimir Alenikov due to anti-Semitism, he risked arrest to make his own movies in 1973.