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  • Stalin’s Jewish State

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    February 27, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    When Yale Strom was growing up in a traditional, socialist-Zionist home in Detroit, he was riveted by his father's tales of a Jewish state founded 20 years before Israel in a Siberian swamp.

    Three decades later, he remembered the obscure Jewish geography lesson to make the...

  • Illuminating ‘Moonlight Mile’

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    September 5, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    Brad Silberling heard the terrible news from a police detective the morning of July 18, 1989. His 21-year-old girlfriend, actress Rebecca Schaeffer (TV's "My Sister Sam") had been shot dead by a stalker in the foyer of her Sweetzer Avenue apartment building.

    On many a Yom Kippur...

  • Funny ‘Guys’

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    August 29, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    In between schmoozing with kids for his acclaimed Fairfax High documentary "Senior Year" in 1998, filmmaker David Zeiger hung out with the funny old guys who did lunch with his dad on Tuesdays at the Mulholland Tennis Club.

    The result is his new doc, "Funny Old Guys," which captures...

  • Fade to Black

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    April 4, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    Two Jewish pioneers of the popular culture, comedian Milton Berle and director Billy Wilder, died last week in Los Angeles.

    Wilder, who fled the Nazis to become one of Hollywood's greatest (and most caustic) filmmakers, died of pneumonia March 27. He was 95.

    Berle, the stogie-smoking...

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  • ‘Trembling’ Truth

    By Ivor Davis

    February 14, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    For filmmaker Sandi Simcha DuBowski, "Trembling Before G-d" isn't just a documentary, it's a revolutionary movement.

    The searing, award-winning film profiles gay Orthodox Jews struggling to reconcile their love of Judaism with the strict biblical prohibitions against homosexuality....

  • Susan Rubin ExploresSpielberg’s Childhood

    By Beverly Gray

    November 15, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    Steven Spielberg has inspired dozens of biographies, none of them written with the filmmaker's consent. But Susan Goldman Rubin's new book, "Steven Spielberg: Crazy for Movies" (Harry N. Abrams, 2001), has input from Spielberg's production company and in-depth interviews with his...

  • Explore the Roots of Jewish America

    By Tom Tugend

    September 20, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    Asser Levy lobbied for two years for the right of Jews to stand guard with Christian burghers of New Amsterdam (now New York) against Indian attacks.

    Uriah Phillips Levy, an officer in the U.S. Navy in the early 19th century, was court-martialed six times but finally succeeded...

  • Catch a Rising Star

    By Gail Zimmerman

    August 23, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    Elizabeth Berkley's audition with filmmaker Woody Allen for a part in his latest comedy, "The Curse of the Jade Scorpion," resembled a scene out of an "I Love Lucy" episode.

    All the actress knew about the highly secretive project was its setting: the 1940s. So, eager to impress...

  • Unveiling Secrets

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    June 28, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    Filmmaker Pola Rapaport grew up in a family of secrets.

    Her psychiatrist father never spoke of his life before meeting Pola's mother. He never spoke of his family. He never mentioned that he was Jewish, though Pola figured that out when he took her to Yom Kippur services when she was...

  • Satan in the Shtetl

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    March 8, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    "Great-grandma was a naughty girl," says British filmmaker Ben Hopkins, whose feature debut, "Simon Magus," is the tale of a Polish shtetl in peril.

    The iconoclastic director's single Jewish ancestor was the Eastern European mistress of an English gentleman in Vienna; in the 1910s,...

  • Stanley Kramer, 87

    By Michael Aushenker

    March 1, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    Legendary filmmaker Stanley Earl Kramer, best known for films such as the classic western "High Noon," died on Feb. 19 of pneumonia. He was 87.

    Born in New York's Hell's Kitchen on Sept. 29, 1913, Kramer was among the pioneer independent producers, working outside the studio system...

  • Cameo of a Playwright

    By Tom Tugend

    January 25, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    Israeli filmmaker Amos Gitai will direct a novice actor in his next movie. He is playwright Arthur Miller, better known as the author of "Death of a Salesman," "The Crucible" and numerous other dramas.



    The title of the movie is "Plain Jane" and Miller will be familiar with the...

  • Riefenstahl Ruckus

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    November 16, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    A small but vocal group of demonstrators rallied outside Paramount Pictures in Hollywood last week, wielding signs and chanting slogans like "Jodie Foster wants to glorify a Nazi" and "Stop Jodie's project now."

    They were protesting a proposed biopic of Leni Riefenstahl, Hitler's...

  • Healing the World

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    October 26, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    As a child, Mimi Leder used to ask about the faded blue numbers on her mother's arm. "It's just a tattoo," her mother, Etyl, a classical pianist, would say. "I was 10 before she told me the truth, and to be honest, that was not old enough," the director recalls.

    When Etyl was 16,...

  • Woody Allen Comes Clean

    May 25, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    "People think I'm being facetious when I say I once toyed with a life of crime," filmmaker Woody Allen recently told 1,400 students, professors and alumni during a standing-room-only screening of his new comedy, "Small Time Crooks," at UCLA's Wadsworth Theater.

    The life-of-crime idea...

  • Strong Opinions

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    March 9, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    Renowned Israeli director Amos Gitai acknowledges that his film, "Kadosh," raises ire in segments of the observant community. "It's critical of certain elements of Jewish tradition that I consider to be reactionary," says the filmmaker, whose movie tells of two oppressed Orthodox...
  • Mary Jane’s Not a Virgin Anymore

    October 7, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    Cult filmmaker Sarah Jacobson can one-up any L.A. Jewish reader who felt like an outcast in high school.

    Her small-town Minnesota classmates told her she was going to burn in hell. "Everyone was really blond," adds Jacobson, now 27. "It was like L.A., except in Minnesota, people are...

  • The Youngest Victims

    By Daphna Edwards Ziman

    May 20, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    On May 3, filmmaker Daphna Edwards Ziman accompanied a delegation from United Jewish Communities on a humanitarian mission to help the Kosovar refugees. The group brought food and medical supplies to the refugees and airlifted mothers and children from the camps in Albania and...
  • Image Playing

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    May 20, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    In Eleanor Antin's filmic art installation, "Vilna Nights," ghostly images flicker in the ruined courtyard of a Jewish ghetto. In one window, a woman burns a passel of love letters; in another, a tailor sobs while mending the clothing of murdered children; in a third, hungry children...
  • The Kubrick Legacy

    By Ivor Davis

    March 18, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    The news of director Stanley Kubrick's death in England is a premature finis to an unprecedented career in film.

    To legions of fans and wannabe filmmakers, the 70-year-old filmmaker was a master. More than Welles, Hitchcock, Ford, Lean or Kurosawa, all of who received the Director's...

  • “Girl Power”

    March 11, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    Cult filmmaker Sarah Jacobson can one-up any L.A. Jewish reader who felt like an outcast in high school.

    Her small-town Minnesota classmates told her she was going to burn in hell. "Everyone was really blond," adds Jacobson, now 27. "It was like L.A., except in Minnesota, people are...

  • Movie Memoirs

    By Diane Arieff

    February 18, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    Some of the best recent American documentaries are nonfiction, highly subjective narratives that explore the Sturm und Drang of family relationships. Filmmaker Ira Wohl calls this kind of up-close cinematic memoir "first-person documentary."

    It's an apt description for his latest...

  • Cinema Judaica

    By Michael Aushenker

    February 11, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    In years past, the Sundance Film Festival -- a two-week marathon of industry schmoozing, skiing and screenings in Park City, Utah -- has served as the launching pad for Jewish independent cinema. The gematria-laced, sci-fi-tinged "Pi," the Simon Wiesenthal Center-produced Oscar...

  • Inside Woody Allen’s TV Past

    By Michael Aushenker

    January 28, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    Before films such as "Radio Days," Woody Allen had his television days. And, for the next three months, fans from "the earlier, funnier Woody" camp will find plenty of artillery for their cause at the Museum of Television and Radio, where "Woody Allen's Television Days" is screening...

  • The Wiesenthal Center’s $1 Million Problem

    November 19, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    Though it may seem otherwise, we are not picking on the Simon Wiesenthal Center. In general, we admire the center, its founder and dean, Rabbi Marvin Hier, its staff and their fine work. The center is innovative, responsive and highly effective -- qualities lacking in many major...
  • The Arts

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    July 23, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    Photo design by Carvin Knowles

    Aronofsky's Original Formula

    By Naomi Pfefferman, Entertainment Editor

    Debut filmmaker Darren Aronofsky manages to sound incredulous about the Jewish sci-fi flick that has made him a star. "You don't think God, math and bad-ass Jews...

  • A Jewish New Wave

    By Harry Medved

    February 12, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    Jewish filmmakers descended on this snowy townlast month for their annual 11-day-long holiday ritual of schmoozing,skiing and screenings, better known as the Sundance FilmFestival.

    That's hardly big news in an industry with morethan a few Jewish members. What is news is that Jews were...

  • A Jewish New Wave

    By Harry Medved

    February 12, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    Ella Lewenz, pictured with one of her children,is the subject of her granddaughter's documentary.
    Filmmaker Myles Berkowitz made the comedy "20 Dates" on a budget of$60,000.

    Park City, Utah --

    Jewish filmmakers descended on this snowy townlast month for their annual 11-day-long holiday...

  • From Best Boy to Best Man

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    December 4, 1997 | 7:00 pm

    Filmmaker Ira Wohl


    Two decades ago, filmmaker Ira Wohl sat at the Passover table andthought about his cousin, Philly. For his first 50 years, thedevelopmentally disabled Philly had lived at home with his parents inQueens, never venturing into the world. Wohl now wondered how...

  • All in the Family

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    November 13, 1997 | 7:00 pm

    Theater

    All in the Family

    Annie Reiner is more than just Rob's sister

    By Naomi Pfefferman, Senior Writer

    Author Annie Reiner is tall, elegant, poised -- and politelyexasperated when you ask about her famous father and brother.

    You can hardly blame her: It's the umpteenth time she's...

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