Author Archives: Gabor Por

My top dozen movies watched in 2018

My top dozen movies watched in 2018

Earlier this month I posted a list of all movies I saw last year. In the distant past I used to attempt to write sort reflections about each movie I watch. I more or less gave up this dream due to lack of time. I still dream to do it one day though. Meanwhile here are the movies I liked the most from last year and why. FYI: I am not including summaries, you can read short synopsis for each of these at the IMDB links. I only share personal reflections here.

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Films viewed in 2018

Films viewed in 2018

It’s the tenth time that I share the list of  movies I watched in a  year:

  • 2018: 119 movies, see below
  • 2017: 127 movies
  • 2016: 86 movies
  • 2014: 105 movies
  • 2013: 204 movies
  • 2012: 210 movies
  • 2011: 243 movies
  • 2010: 142 movies
  • 2009: 140 movies
  • 2008: 153 movies

Here are some stats about the films I watched in 2018

  • 38 of them was from 2018, 29 from 2017, and 9 from before 2000
  • 73 from the USA, 13 from UK , 7 from France and the rest from 14 other countries.

(The montage of covers in large version)
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Kontroll Csoport @ 2018. december 7. – Budapest/TRIP hajó

Kontroll Csoport Tinédzser korom egyik kedvenc zenekarának koncertjén voltunk szombat este, nagyjából. A Kontroll Csoport még élő tagjainak részvételével zajlott az Ági 60 sorozat soronkövetkező koncertje a TRIP hajón. A koncert első felében Bárdos Deák Ági új, Villámrandi c. lemeze hangzott el, aminek csak az utolsó számára értünk oda. Rövid szünet után viszont majd másfél órás műsorban a régi klasszikus Kontroll számok jó részét eljátszották. Jó volt elmerülni a múltban egy kicsit, bár a dalok üzenetei sajnos mára ismé aktuálisá váltak. Csak az alábbi három széamot vettem fel videóra, mert a többi alatt táncoltunk.

  • Lilli Kommandó
  • Kis piros bombázó
  • Hol vannak a régi álmaim/Félelem háza

The 64 movies added to JewishFilmFestivals.org in September 2018

Covers of the 64 movies added to jewishfilmfestivals.org in September 2018In September 2018 I added 64 movies to JewishFilmFestivals.org, see the whole list below and the covers of some of them.

  1. America (2018)
  2. Amnesia (2018)
  3. Amor (2016)
  4. Better Together: Names, Not Numbers (2018)
  5. Bobbi Jene (2017) DVD
  6. Call Me Alvy (2017)
  7. The Caregiver (2018)
  8. The Catcher Was a Spy (2018) DVD
  9. Check Please (2015)
  10. The Chosen People? A Film about Jewish Identity (2017)
  11. The Departure (2018)
  12. Egg Cream (2018)
  13. Etgar Keret: Based on a True Story (2017)
  14. Eyeless in Gaza (2016)
  15. Fractures (2017)
  16. Genesis (2018)
  17. Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) DVD
  18. The Gravedigger’s Daughter (2017)
  19. Home Made (2017)
  20. I Heart NY (2017)
  21. In the Land of Pomegranates (2018)
  22. The In-Laws (1979) DVD
  23. The Interpreter (2018)
  24. Israel, Why (1973) DVD
  25. Keep Quiet (2016) DVD
  26. Kirk Douglas, The Untameable (2017)
  27. Kosher Love (2017)
  28. Laces (2018)
  29. Land of the Little People (2016)
  30. A Land Without Borders (2017)
  31. Layam (2018)
  32. Leftovers (2017)
  33. Little Miss Sunshine (2006) DVD
  34. Little Murders (1971) DVD
  35. Love, Gilda (2018)
  36. The Mossad: Imperfect Spies (2018)
  37. On the Spectrum (2018)
  38. One of Us (2017)
  39. The Outer Circle (2017)
  40. Paperock (2017)
  41. Present/Absent (2018)
  42. Red Cow (2018)
  43. Red Trees (2017) DVD
  44. Sante (2016)
  45. The Seven Men of Hanukkah (2016)
  46. Shattered: Journey into a Silent Past (2018)
  47. Signer (2018)
  48. Significant Other (2018)
  49. The Smuggler and Her Charges (2017)
  50. Strangers at Home (2016)
  51. Summer (2018)
  52. The Syrian Patient (2017)
  53. Tel Aviv Live (2016)
  54. Ten Bell Tolls (2017)
  55. A Thousand Kisses (2017)
  56. Three Identical Strangers (2018)
  57. Travelogue Tel Aviv (2017)
  58. Uncle Gloria: One Helluva Ride! (2016) DVD
  59. Violin (2017)
  60. Virgins (2018)
  61. Wait Until Dark (1967) DVD
  62. Who Will Write Our History (2018)
  63. You Only Live Once (2017)
  64. Your Honor (2017)

Help to identify: Indians with pink pillows(?)

Yesterday when I was going through airport security in San Francisco I noticed that in the privileged, aka the fast lane an interesting set of people were coming through. What grabbed my attention was men with pink rectangular pillows on their heads that they were holding with one or two hands. These objects were clearly ceremonial. Some of the men were wearing regular semi-elegant western clothes, others semi-elegant clothing from India. Based on their skin color they all seemed to be from India. There was more than a dozen of them. I also noticed 2 or 3 people around them , who seemed to be ritually fanning the top of these pillows. Eventually I also saw one or two elderly gentleman in turbans and more traditional Indian clothing, with big white beards. For my untrained eyes they looked like gurus. I would appreciate if someone could identify them for me and for the people who asked me on Facebook or Instagram about them; i.e. do they belong to a new (age?) religious movement or were adherents of a more traditional religion. I was too shy to shoot too many pictures, so here is the best of the ones I took:

Movie Musing: Twice Born / Venuto al mondo (2012, Italy, 127 min)

Poster for Twice Born / Venuto al mondoBridges are multi-edged metaphors. In peace time they symbolize connections; we like to “build bridges” between people, cultures, seemingly disparate or even opposite fragments of the world, to emphasize the common ground. In wartime though it shows that there is no common ground under the bridge. Instead their symbolical meaning gets reversed. What once was a fragile road towards the and each other now becomes the place where nobody is protected. When you are on a bridge there is nowhere to run from a sniper. Nowhere to hide. By committing the brave or foolish act of stepping onto it you expose yourself to possible enemy fire.

Twice Born, with Penélope Cruz, painfully drives the point home, by showing both the way to the famous Mostar bridge, which was a symbol of multicultural understanding to the slaughtering of innocent people on various bridges. The symbolism gets even worse and stronger. As we learn towards the end of the movie the main surviving characters of the war live on an island. No bridges leading there, only ferries. They didn’t want to burn the bridges up behind themselves, but their country did it for them. The only more or less safe refuge they found was strictly off-coast.

Religion, Society, Technology

From now on, in my musings about movies and books I will pay extra attention to religion, technology and society. I believe every piece of artwork has something to say about them. Let me test this theory by pointing a few connections out.

Religion barely plays any role in the movie. At one point we learn about a couple, both of them university professors, where he is Jewish and she is Muslim. This fact is unceremoniously mentioned in passing and the point is to show that for being a loving couple they doesn’t have to be co-religionists. Much later when the bohemian photographer lost his joie de vivre and helps distributing food and supplies to people in a vest that bears a cross on its back, his scared wife compares him to a desperate Jesus figure. Yes, just like Jesus, he abandoned his self-preservation instinct in favor of helping others. For those who love him as a person it was hard to take.

What kind of pictures does the movie paint of human society? It is a war-story with its specific horrible atrocities. Hence it is best summarized by the words of a doctor, who after examining one of the victims in the movie says: “Her… orifices will heal slowly. It will take some time. I am ashamed to belong to the human race. God will not forgive us. Not even the children.” The things humans are capable of are seemingly unimaginable. The trouble is that some humans not just imagined but executed those atrocious crimes.

Everything is technology. The word’s meaning move on a large scale. Let’s narrow it down to man-made objects. For simplicity’s stake–and because that is one of my man interest–let’s further narrow it to computer technology. It only comes up in the very last scene, which is yet again a nice bridge between past and future. It is suggested to the 17 year old innocent boy, who was born twice, that the war should be explained to him by a comedian like Buster Keaton. So, on his way out of the island and the movie he snaps his cell-phone out and starts watching a Keaton film. New technology used by a new generation suggests progress and maybe, just maybe that he will grow up with more connecting bridges than killing fields. Also, him connecting to a classic oldie also gives hope that by studying history he and his generation will not repeat it.

Links:

  • Watch online (Amazon Prime) , buy DVD
  • Facebook page
  • IMDB summary: The fervent affair of the Italian Gemma and the American photographer Diego will be put to the test by the insurmountable problem of infertility, as the couple’s desperate desire to conceive will prompt them to make difficult choices. Now, sixteen years after the 1992 siege of Sarajevo, Gemma–after accepting her old friend Gojko’s invitation–will return to the once war-torn city accompanied by her 16-year-old son, Pietro, only to unearth powerful memories and bottled-up emotions. But, there, decades after her perilous escape, Gemma is also in for a terrible and tragic revelation–one that will uncover the true horrors of war and the full extent of her loss.
  • Trailer:

Sunset @ North Salmon Creek Beach

Post Yom Kippur Post

Last night as Yom Kippur was closing I went out to the beach to be with myself. As I was musing I found that being with myself evoked in me the Mishnah’s “for” question: “If I am not for myself, who will be for me?”  My strongest takeaway from this year’s High Holydays meditation is the renewed focus on the above. At the same time the Sun was getting to renew itself for the next day too:

 

The 113 movies added to JewishFilmFestivals.org in April 2018

In April 2018 I added 113 movies to JewishFilmFestivals.org, see the whole list below and the covers of some of them.

The 113 movies added to JewishFilmFestivals.org in April 2018

 

  1. 116 Cameras
  2. Adieu my Beloved
  3. The Ancestral Sin / Sallah, Po Ze Eretz Yisrael
  4. Another Planet / Another Planet / Planeta Aheret
  5. At eye level / Auf Augenhöhe
  6. Back to Berlin
  7. Back to the Fatherland
  8. Barbra Streisand, Becoming an Icon / Barbra Streisand: Geburt einer Diva 1942-1984
  9. Be/Longing / Amal
  10. Bella! Did Ya Eat?: The Story of Judy Perly and Free Times Cafe
  11. Blazing Saddles
  12. Block 13
  13. The Body Collector / De Zaak Menten
  14. Bride of Finklestein
  15. Budapest Noir
  16. A Call to Remember
  17. Comics: Steve Shuster
  18. Commandments / Kipat Barzel
  19. Compartments
  20. The Cousin
  21. Cuba’s Forgotten Jewels: A Haven in Havana
  22. The Dead Nation
  23. Dieu Merci: The Story of Michele Rodri
  24. Don’t Forget Me
  25. Dreaming of a Jewish Christmas
  26. Driver / Before Memory / Lifney HaZikaron
  27. The Entertainer
  28. Eruv
  29. Five Years After the War / Cinq ans après la guerre
  30. Four by Four / Arba Al Arba
  31. Futures Past
  32. GI Jews: Jewish Americans in World War II
  33. The Good postman / Hyvä postimies
  34. Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405
  35. The Hero / De Held
  36. Holy Air
  37. How to Ride an Elevator on Shabat
  38. I’m from the Jews
  39. If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast
  40. The Impure
  41. In Between / Bar Bahar
  42. In Her Footsteps
  43. Indecent
  44. The Invisibles / Die Unsichtbaren
  45. Israel: Stories of Modern Days
  46. An Israeli Love Story / Sipur Ahava Eretz-Israeli
  47. Journey Birds / Ulai Rak Tsiporei Masa Yodot
  48. Kishon His Name Precedes Him / Kishon
  49. Land of Milk and Funny
  50. Large Soldier / Chayal Large
  51. The Last laugh
  52. The Last suit / El último traje
  53. The Last Supper / Das letzte Mahl
  54. Let Me Hear Thy Voice
  55. Libya: The Last Exodus / Libia: l’ultimo esodo
  56. Life is rich
  57. Lon
  58. Longing / Ga’agua
  59. Look About You
  60. The Maestro: In Search of the Last Music
  61. A Memoir of War / La douleur
  62. A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  63. Moe Berg
  64. Mr & Mrs Adelman / Mr & Mme Adelman
  65. Mr. Predictable / Yeled Tov Yerushalyim
  66. The Museum
  67. My Dear Children
  68. My Hero Brother
  69. Nana
  70. The New Black (Shababniks) / Shababnikim
  71. Niggun
  72. No Ordinary Hero: The SuperDeafy Movie
  73. Nothing Happens
  74. One for the Road
  75. One More Experiment
  76. Open Your Eyes
  77. The Oslo Diaries
  78. Outdoors / Bayit Bagalil
  79. People like you
  80. The Promised Band
  81. RBG
  82. Rebel
  83. Reinventing Rosalee
  84. Remember Baghdad
  85. Rising Sons
  86. The Samuel Project
  87. Saving Neta
  88. Saving Nur
  89. Say What!: A Geriatric Proposal
  90. Scaffolding
  91. Seeing Allred
  92. Shalom Bollywood: The Untold Story of Indian Cinema
  93. Shalom Italia
  94. Spiral
  95. Spring Chicken
  96. Standing Up
  97. Starry Sky Above Me, The / Le ciel étoilé au-dessus de ma tête
  98. Stitchers: Tapestry of Spirit
  99. The Strangest Stranger
  100. Summer
  101. Sunset
  102. Tevye’s daughters / Myr vashomy domy!
  103. The Third place / El tercer espacio
  104. Tijuana Jews
  105. To Be A Child Again – Israel
  106. Touching the Sky / Ha Tayasot
  107. Tracking Edith / Auf Ediths spuren
  108. Tzeva Adom: The Color Red
  109. Under the Bar
  110. The Wedding Plan / Laavor et hakir
  111. Wendy’s Shabbat / Wendy’s Shabbat
  112. Woman with an Editing Bench
  113. A Woman’s Story

Books posted on JewishBookWorld.org in August 2018

Books posted on JewishBookWorld.org in August 2018Below is the list of the 36 books that I posted on this site in August 2018. The image above contains some of the covers. The bold links take you to the book’s page on Amazon; the “on JBW” links to the book’s page on JBW.

    1. All Eyes on Alexandra by Anna Levine (on JBW)
    2. All I Could Never Be by Anzia Yezierska (on JBW)
    3. Bitter and Sweet by Sandra V. Feder (on JBW)
    4. A Cage Without Bars by Anne Dublin (on JBW)
    5. Counting on America by Gary Reiner and Kurt Reiner (on JBW)
    6. Devil’s Mile: The Rich, Gritty History of the Bowery by Alice Sparberg Alexiou (on JBW)
    7. The Emperor of Shoes by Spencer Wise (on JBW)
    8. The Future of Jewish Philosophy (on JBW)
    9. Global Jewish Foodways: A History by Hasia R. Diner & Simone Cinotto (on JBW)
    10. In the Shadow of King Saul: Essays on Silence and Song by Jerome Charyn (on JBW)
    11. Jerusalem Drawn and Quartered by Sarah Tuttle-Singer (on JBW)
    12. Jewish Community of Dayton by Marshall Weiss (on JBW)
    13. The Jewish Ghetto and the Visual Imagination of Early Modern Venice by Dana E. Katz (on JBW)
    14. Jewish Languages in Historial Perspective (on JBW)
    15. The Just Still Lives by His Faith by Eliyahu Munk (on JBW)
    16. A Karakas Speaks by C.M. Kosemen (on JBW)
    17. The Mandela Plot by Kenneth Bonert (on JBW)
    18. Menasseh ben Israel: Rabbi of Amsterdam by Steven Nadler (on JBW)
    19. Modern Conservative Judaism: Evolving Thought and Practice by Elliot N. Dorff (on JBW)
    20. Mort Ziff Is Not Dead by Cary Fagan (on JBW)
    21. My Israel Trail by Aryeh Green (on JBW)
    22. The Nazi, the Princess, and the Shoemaker: My Father’s Holocaust Odyssey by Scott M. Neuman (on JBW)
    23. No Truth Without Ruth: The Life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Kathleen Krul (on JBW)
    24. A Palace of Pearls: The Stories of Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav by Howard Schwartz (on JBW)
    25. Portuguese Jews, New Christians, and ‘New Jews’: A Tribute to Roberto Bachmann (on JBW)
    26. The Queen & The Spymaster: A Novel Based on the Story of Esther by Sandra E. Rapoport (on JBW)
    27. The Red Ribbon by Lucy Adlington (on JBW)
    28. Regina Persisted: An Untold Story by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso (on JBW)
    29. Ride High with the Wave by Sharon K. Solomon (on JBW)
    30. Scholarly Man of Faith: Studies in the Thought and Writings of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik (on JBW)
    31. Sephardic Women’s Voices: Out of North Africa by Nina B. Lichtenstein (on JBW)
    32. Silver Stars by Michael Grant (on JBW)
    33. Snapshot: The IDF as Never Seen Before by Yoav Limor; Ziv Koren (on JBW)
    34. Titanic 2 – The Secret Is Revealed by Avraham Ohayon (on JBW)
    35. The Warsaw Ghetto in American Art and Culture by Samantha Baskind (on JBW)
    36. The World Needs Beautiful Things by Leah Rachel Berkowitz (on JBW)