Foreign-language (meaning non English-language) films from 76 countries, ranging from Afghanistan to Venezuela, are competing for Oscar honors this year, with Israel’s entry, “Bethlehem,” pitting Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, against diverse Palestinian factions eager to blow up the Jewish state.
It’s not surprising that 20th Century Fox is launching an Oscar campaign for “The Book Thief,” a hauntingly beautiful film based on Markus Susak’s award-winning novel set in Nazi Germany. The New York Post has called the film “Oscar bait.”
Israel's U.S. ambassador, Michael Oren, said the Oscar-nominated documentary "The Gatekeepers" complicates his mission.
Alan Arkin is not an actor who seeks individual glory. But that hasn’t prevented the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from singling him out several times. This year, Arkin has again been nominated for an Oscar, this time as best supporting actor for his work in the critically acclaimed “Argo.”
Five Broken Cameras (2011), a documentary currently up for a 2013 Oscar and co-directed by the film’s narrator and videographer, Palestinian Emad Burnat, and Israeli filmmaker Guy Davidi, attempts to erase the complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The film unfolds as a Palestinian fairy tale, narrated in a soothing, storytelling voice:
The time: 2003. The place: Black Site: Undisclosed Location. A battered man strung up by his wrists is being questioned by an interrogator. When he refuses to answer he is forced to the ground and held down by three men wearing ski masks.
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.
It was early 1989, and TV producer Terre Blair called her mother with the exciting news. “I’m engaged”, she announced. “I’m getting married to Marvin Hamlisch!” “Marvin Hamlisch?”, the prospective mother-in-law replied. “You mean the boxer from Las Vegas?” “No, Mom. That’s Marvin Hagler”, Terre laughed. “Marvin Hamlisch is a composer; he writes songs, and he tours”. “Just what this family needs”, said Mom. “An out-of-work songwriter."
Composer Marvin Hamlisch, who earned critical acclaim and popularity for a prolific output of dozens of motion-picture scores and shows including "The Way We Were," "The Sting" and "A Chorus Line," has died in Los Angeles. He was 68.
It has been suggested that the purpose of a college education is to ease the transition into adulthood. After several decades teaching college-age students, I would agree, only substituting delay and prevent for ease.
As their nations warn of war, the Israeli and Iranian directors facing off at next week's Academy Awards share a reluctance to see politics read into their movies, both of which are portraits of troubled families. Joseph Cedar, director of Israel's "Footnote," and Asghar Farhadi, maker of Iran's "A Separation," stress that their works are about human issues and not conflicted governments that seem to be slipping into ever deeper diplomatic isolation.
Oscar Handlin, one of the foremost American historians of the 20th century, has died.
Under a cloudless blue sky, in a square wedged between the National Assembly and the Rectorate of the University of Sofia, Alexander Oscar, the young president of Sofia’s Jewish community, issued a blunt message to his countrymen. The occasion was Bulgaria's Holocaust remembrance ceremony on March 10, a day meant to celebrate the country's heroic rescue of its 50,000 Jews during World War II, a feat unequalled in any Nazi-allied country and a rightful mark of pride here.
One day after an Oscar went to the 40-minute documentary “Strangers No More,” about the Bialik-Rogozin School in south Tel Aviv and its undocumented students from 48 countries across the Third World — a 12-year-old girl named Esther who stars in the movie is facing probable deportation from Israel, along with an estimated 120 of the 800 pupils in the school.
“The Human Resources Manager” struck out early in the best foreign-language film competition, while the documentary feature “Precious Life” was short-listed among the 15 semi-finalists but didn’t make the final five cut. However, still in the running is “Strangers No More” in the documentary short category.
Susanne Bier, whose Danish film, “In a Better World,” is a favorite for Oscar honors, is an anomaly.
Oscar the Grouch and Moishe Oofnik, his Israeli cousin who lives in a recycling bin on Rechov Sumsum in Tel Aviv, opened up what would turn out to be the most explosive plenary session at the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America.
The film “Defiance” told the story of the Bielski brothers, who led a group of partisans in fighting the Nazis and established a self-sustaining Jewish community in the forests of Belarus, but it didn’t show what is ultimately their greatest triumph.
In contrast to previous years, there have been no acrimonious controversies so far. Apparently all sides have tired of arguing whether the Palestinian entry should be officially designated as coming from Palestine, the Palestinian Authority or the Palestinian territory, and plain "Palestine" has won out.
The oddly titled film combines state-of-the-art animation, an anti-war documentary theme and a psychoanalytic approach to recover the memory of a traumatized Israeli soldier.
Oscar winner Jon Voight on Israeli TV last month expressing support on Israel's 60th Anniversary
Report from Oscar night including a discussion of "Beaufort," the first Israeli film to be among the five finalists for Best Foreign Film in 23 years.
We haven't kept up with Ari Sandel since the nice Jewish boy from Calabasas came out of nowhere last year to win an Oscar for his hilarious short film "West Bank Story." His second venture, "Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show: 30 Days and 30 Nights -- Hollywood to the Heartland," has opened to excellent reviews and is now playing in general release.
When Peter Saraf signed on to co-produce the film, "Little Miss Sunshine," he says he did so without hesitation. The script, about a dysfunctional family's road trip, spoke to him immediately, and he was proud to bring his great-aunt and great-uncle to see it.