Category Archives: Film/TV

I watch, love, and hate

Film review: Once in a Lifetime / Les héritiers (2014, France, 105 min)

Poster for Once in a Lifetime / Les héritiersIf this is the first movie you saw in the genre of “rambunctious and diverse class of teenagers encounter an inspiring teacher and through a transformative experience come together and change for the better” you will really enjoy it. But if you’ve seen one or more of this type you will find the storyline a bit predictable. The “experience”, this is quasi-remedial class goes through is the participation in a national contest and creating a presentation on the topic of “Children and adolescents in the Nazi concentration camp system“. Almost all of the kids, many of them Muslims to various degree, end up getting interested in the topic and not just set aside their differences, but work together to create their collective project. This is admirable, but my skeptical mind found it unrealistic, that only one and a half student of the whole class opted out. (Even the “one” gets a positive nod at the end and the “half” ends up joining the group halfway through.) Looks like the filmmakers took the perspective that peer pressure is so strong that almost nobody wants to be in the “outgroup”.

I was a bit confused on how old these kids were supposed to be. In the opening seen we saw two students who (more or less) graduated and they were talking about their “baccalaureat”, which in my mind converted to a BA, the degree that in the US most students get after finishing a four year college. Then we saw the new class, and most of them looked about 18 years old to me. But their maturity level was much lower than that of college students. So I had to check and confirmed that “Lycée“, the type of school this movie is set in is a form of secondary institution, i.e. high-school. Don’t be fooled who old these kids look like. They are supposed to be 16-17-ish.

There are good reasons why they looked so old. First of all the “actor”, who played Malik, one of the students, was 20, and was actually part of the class, based on whose true story the film was based on. He, Ahmed Dramé, wrote the script based on his own experience. Second, many of the youth in the movie was played by students of the Lycee it was shot in. Third they were not freshmen, but in the “junior” class which is the same in the US system, the third year of high-school.

There are numerous subthemes such as the French national debate on religious clothing, diversity of personal background in terms of family and socio-economical status, questions of respect and authority, self-confidence and of course the issue of how to teach Holocaust. The latter was helped by a Shoah survivor, who played himself, Leon Zyguel. As part of his teaching he read to the class the Buchenwald Oath, that many in that concentration camp took. It partly reads:

We will take up the fight until the last culprit stands before the judges of the people. Our watchword is the destruction of Nazism from its roots. Our goal is to build a new world of peace and freedom. This is our responsibility to our murdered friends and their relatives.

Thus a main message of the movie is that this task is perpetual and every generation has to take it up.


  • DVD@
  • Official site
  • IMDB summary: The fact based story of a class of schoolchildren, teenagers, in a, from the look of it, mixed ethnic district of Paris, who’s teacher decides to enter them in a competition to examine the holocaust from the point of view of its impact on young people. It contains some very emotional scenes and chronicles the change in the opinions and interactions of a typical class of adolescents.
  • Trailer:

* As a member of the committee helping to put on the Jewish Film Festival, organized by the Jewish Community Center, Sonoma County, I preview movies to help decide which ones to play at the Festival. I watched this movie as part of this volunteer effort.

** Crossposted at

Film Review: Women in Sink (2015)

Women in SinkThe title of movie, Women in Sink,  is a clever pun, intended to show how similar the women are who frequent a hair salon. Let me add another water related quote from Rumi: “You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean, in a drop.” On one hand the entire movie is based on deliberate mental comparisons. Iris Zaki, the 36 minutes long film’s director and writer (and ladies’ junior hairwasher) shows the heads of women after women in the same position, in the sink, as their hair is getting washed. As there is nothing else to look at than the same sink with various human heads interchanging in it we, the viewers, make the strong connection that we humans are all the same, despite our apparent differences, such as religion, ethnicity or language.

On the other hand this limited view forces us to listen harder to what the women have to say, hence the viewing experience becomes a compare and contrast exercise. Despite their obvious differences even their words end up being similar to each other. Yes, we get to know individual paths of lives. But at the end a basic theme emerges: every single one of them has the same want: a simple, happy life.

Back to Rumi: These women formed a community, whether they knew it or not. The filmmaker sometimes tried to set them up by asking provocative questions. The women almost always answered and through their honesty what came through time after time was that they were wise for not falling for it. Strong emotions not withstanding their perspective always focused on their individual livies and rarely let history and politics interfere with it more than it had to. They were all their own “oceans” (in a black sink).

There are enough shots of the inside of, the neighborhood of, and the workers in the hair salon, that the movie doesn’t get monotonous. My curiosity for technical details was also satisfied in the last shot that shows the disassembling of the gear that allowed to take the interesting overhead shots. After watching this movie I felt like its subjects were feeling too after their treatments: refreshed and optimistic.


  • Page at
  • Official site
  • Facebook page
  • IMDB
  • Summary: It is the story of a little hair salon in the heart of the Arab community in Haifa (Israel); it is the story of a friendship between Arab and Jewish women in the city, which is considered a model of coexistence; and it is the story of Iris, the director, who worked as a hair washer at the salon so she could get to know women of the neighbourhood. Through her interaction with the women, in this unique frame, Iris wishes to tell the story of the community from the personal experience of the film’s subjects, and to explore what it reflects of Israeli society.
  • Trailer:

* As a member of the committee helping to put on the Jewish Film Festival, organized by the Jewish Community Center, Sonoma County, I preview movies to help decide which ones to play at the Festival. I watched this movie as part of this volunteer effort.

** Crossposted at

East Jerusalem/West Jerusalem (2014, Israel)

East Jerusalem/West JerusalemSometimes it is hard to separate essence and style. In the case of the documentary titled “East Jerusalem/West Jerusalem I fully agree with its message of positivity and humanity. I agree with the idea that personal connections between people of any kind is a preventive method of avoiding or reducing conflict. And music is a universal, essential and fun way to connect. In short the idea and execution of the movie (“let’s make music together and build peace through connecting parts of the city/cultures”) is close to my heart.

I even like the sound of the songs the people involved in making the record created, although it is far from my preferred musical styles. What alienated me from the film was the words and styles of the main people in it. For me they were too sugary-hippy-naive. They were children of the 60’s and used the lingo of that peace-loving era. For me their words and lyrics not just sounded archaic, but also out-of-time. So much happened in the world, be it music or politics, since their formative years, that that style of thinking and singing seems surpassed. It was dripping with well-intentioned love, but was too syrupy for me to enjoy. I do not doubt its authenticity, even admire it. Just can’t listen to it for too long, without feeling distanced from the people uttering it. To put it in another way: this film will work really well for people who got socialized in that era.

The movie’s principal characters face their own naivety in the scene, where they encounter hordes of young Jews shouting “Death to the Arabs” and a few Arabs shouting back “Death to the Jews”. They have their doubts, but they are not afraid to explore them and are aware that occasionally they need to step outside from the hate-filled atmosphere to maintain their love for peace and understanding. This capacity of and practice for self-reflection is one the things that make the film valuable. 

The other is the long lasting effect. Beside actually managing to record all 13 songs for the record, they also initiated a monthly music camp for kids in the only refugee camp within Jerusalem’s borders:  Shuafat. The fun and creative outlet they provide for the kids is the best outcome of the whole venture.

Having talked, about my reservations and preferences I have to mention that as a film this is excellent work. Well edited, providing a good balance of footage in the sound studio, vignettes from Jerusalem’s life, background information and interviews of the musicians and singers. It was a pleasure to watch it and learn about people(s) I would probably never encounter in my life.


  • Official site
  • IMDB summary: David Broza, the Israeli singer-songwriter, sets out to realize his dream of cooperation and dialog between Israelis and Palestinians through music. During 8 days and nights of joint creation in an East Jerusalem studio a hopeful message of equality and unity arises.
  • The CD on
  • Trailer:

* As a member of the committee helping to put on the Jewish Film Festival, organized by the Jewish Community Center, Sonoma County, I preview movies to help decide which ones to play at the Festival. I watched this movie as part of this volunteer effort.

** Crossposted at

Films added in January 2016 to

And Then, ViolenceIn the month of January I added 116 films to Jewish Film Festivals. Some of them are old, others are new. There are shorts, feature films, documentaries and TV series among them. In the list below I used the English title for all them, but many of them are from other countries. The only thing common in them is that they were all shown at one more Jewish Film Festival. I hope you will find some interesting one films here:

  1. Our Big Time – Blutsbrüder teilen alles (2012, 88 min.)
  2. That Bubble of Being – Chava Rosenfarb: Dos blesele wor (2015, 75 min.)
  3. What a Wonderful Place – Eize Makom Nifla (2005, 104 min.)
  4. Third Person – Guf Shlishi (2015, 57 min.)
  5. Mountain – Ha’har (2015, 83 min.)
  6. Goodbye Theresienstadt – Jødernes flugt (2013, 59 min.)
  7. ALife for Football – Landauer – Der Präsident (2014, 89 min.)
  8. Naked Among Wolves – Nackt unter Wölfen (2015, 105 min.)
  9. Eagles – Nevelot (2012, 99 min.)
  10. The Last Cyclist – Poslední cyklista (2014, 83 min.)
  11. They Were Promised the Sea – Pour Une Nouvelle Seville (2013, 74 min.)
  12. Time to Say Goodbye – Simon sagt ‘Auf Wiedersehen’ zu seiner Vorhaut (2015, 82 min.)
  13. The Cremator – Spalovac mrtvol (1969, 95 min.) Buy/watch
  14. Persona Non Grata – Sugihara Chiune (2015, 139 min.)
  15. On Tour with Pina Bausch / One Day Pina Asked Me – Un jour Pina a demandé… (1983, 57 min.)
  16. 800 Jews from Our Town (2015, 28 min.)
  17. All These Voices (2015, 15 min.)
  18. And Then, Violence (2016, 15 min.)
  19. Any Day Now (2012, 98 min.) Buy/watch
  20. The Baby (2012, 85 min.)
  21. Backgammon (2014, 68 min.)
  22. Bacon & God’s Wrath (2015, 8 min.)
  23. Barash (2015, 81 min.)
  24. Black Jews: The roots of the Olive Tree (2015, 56 min.)
  25. Blue Like Me: The Art of Siona Benjamin (2015, 28 min.)
  26. Born Allies (2014, 17 min.)
  27. The Caborca Jew: A Mexican Story (2014, 58 min.)
  28. Camp Story (2013, 26 min.)
  29. Cheftzi On Air (2006, 22 min.)
  30. Compared to What: The Improbable Journey of Barney Frank (2014, 87 min.) Buy/watch
  31. The Consul of Bordeaux (2011, 90 min.) Buy/watch
  32. Dancing in the Ashes (2012, 18 min.)
  33. Dying to Know: Ram Dass & Timothy Leary (2014, 95 min.)
  34. Enter the Faun (2015, 68 min.)
  35. Estamos Aqui: Here We Are (2013, 84 min.)
  36. Etoile (2014, 9 min.)
  37. Every Tuesday: A Portrait of the New Yorker Cartoonists (2011, 22 min.)
  38. Far Out Isn’t Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story (2012, 98 min.) Buy/watch
  39. Feelings Are Facts: The Life of Yvonne Rainer (2015, 86 min.)
  40. Fluchkes (2011, 54 min.) Buy/watch
  41. Forgiven Is Not Forgotten (2012, 10 min.)
  42. Generations of the Shoah: The Sigmund A. Rolat Story (2013, 14 min.)
  43. The Girl on the Train (2013, 80 min.) Buy/watch
  44. The Green Park (2015, 65 min.)
  45. Halabudka (2016, 11 min.)
  46. Holy City (2015, 3 min.)
  47. The House on the Water (2012, 25 min.)
  48. How Not to Say I Love You?… (2014, 20 min.)
  49. The Hulk (2015, 12 min.)
  50. In Our Eyes (2015, 3 min.)
  51. Jonah (2013, 17 min.)
  52. Kids of the Rocket Siren (2013, 18 min.)
  53. Layla (2013, 7 min.)
  54. Let’s Dance! (2012, 103 min.)
  55. The Light Ahead (1939, 94 min.)
  56. Lo Bashamayim Hi (G-dcast) (2012, 5 min.)
  57. Lonely at the Top: A Bromance (G-dcast) (2012, 4 min.)
  58. The Mamboniks (2015, 84 min.)
  59. The Man Who Buried His Own Leg (2013, 4 min.)
  60. Man Who Made Anglels Fly (2013, 64 min.)
  61. Marathon Man (1976, 125 min.) Buy/watch
  62. Master of the Good Name (2014, 80 min.)
  63. Mel Brooks: Make a Noise (2013, 90 min.) Buy/watch
  64. Miriam Beerman: Expressing the Chaos (2015, 53 min.)
  65. Morgenthau (2015, 107 min.)
  66. The Mystery of San Nicandro (2012, 67 min.)
  67. Nazi Boots (2015, 6 min.)
  68. The New Woman: Annie Londonderry Kopchovsky (2013, 27 min.)
  69. No Home Movie (2015, 115 min.)
  70. Noye’s Fludde – Unogumbe (2013, 35 min.)
  71. The Old Jewish Cemetery (2015, 20 min.)
  72. Our People (2015, 7 min.)
  73. Paddleball (2012, 6 min.)
  74. Parshat Shemini: The Kosher Animal Song (G-dcast) (2010, 5 min.)
  75. Parshat Vayakhel: A Song About Wise Hearted People (G-dcast) (2010, 5 min.)
  76. Parshat Vezot Habracha: Saying Goodbye to Moses (G-dcast) (2009, 4 min.)
  77. Potsdam Revisited: Overture to the Cold War / The Rifleman’s Violin (2014, 15 min.)
  78. Psalm 1 (G-dcast) (2013, 3 min.)
  79. Psalm 23 – The Valley (G-dcast) (2013, 3 min.)
  80. Psalm 42 – Where Is Your God? (G-dcast) (2013, 3 min.)
  81. Psalm 90 – Before I Lost My Hair (G-dcast) (2013, 2 min.)
  82. The Rabbi’s Daughter (2012, 33 min.)
  83. The Record Man (2015, 107 min.)
  84. Revival (2013, 25 min.)
  85. Righteous Rebel: Rabbi Avi Weiss (2014, 49 min.)
  86. Rolling Romance (2013, 29 min.)
  87. Sara Levy Cohen (2014, 14 min.)
  88. The Setup (2016, 16 min.)
  89. Shouk (2014, 19 min.)
  90. Showfolk (2014, 23 min.)
  91. Si Minor (2015, 22 min.)
  92. Sukkot at the Ranch (2013, 13 min.)
  93. Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971, 110 min.) Buy/watch
  94. Surviving Skokie (2015, 66 min.)
  95. Take a Bow and Confess (2013, 60 min.)
  96. Tal R: The Virgin (2013, 29 min.)
  97. A Tale of Slander (2015, 7 min.)
  98. Tamagotchi (2015, 15 min.)
  99. Tesefa (2014, 10 min.)
  100. That Daughter’s Crazy (2015, 59 min.)
  101. The Mature (2013, 4 min.)
  102. The Three Hikers (2015, 96 min.)
  103. To Step Forward Myself (2015, 28 min.)
  104. A trip to the Other Planet (2014, 15 min.)
  105. The Trouble with Being Human These Days (2013, 51 min.)
  106. Two Who Dared: The Sharps’ War (2013, 76 min.) Buy/watch
  107. Two-Sided Story (2012, 75 min.)
  108. Wagner & Me (2010, 89 min.) Buy/watch
  109. Walking with the Enemy (2013, 124 min.)
  110. WALL·E (2008, 98 min.) Buy/watch
  111. Warm Snow (2015, 5 min.)
  112. Wiener Blut (2014, 8 min.)
  113. The Window (2014, 30 min.)
  114. Within the Eye of the Storm (2012, 74 min.)
  115. Within Thy Walls (2015, 7 min.)
  116. Woody Allen: A Documentary (2012, 113 min.) Buy/watch

Films added in December 2015 to

Oliver TwistIn December 2015 I managed to add 110 films to Jewish Film Festivals. Some of them are old, others are new. There are shorts, feature films, documentaries and TV series among them. In the list below I used the English title for all them, but many of them are from other countries. the only thing common in them is that they were all shown at one more Jewish Film Festival this year. I hope you will find some interesting one films here:

  1. 13 Minutes / Elser (2015)
  2. Aliyah DaDa (2015)
  3. Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong (2015)
  4. Aron Aronof & the Bukharian Museum (2012)
  5. Art and Heart: The World of Isaiah Sheffer (2016)
  6. ASNI: the Life of Asnaketch Worku – Courage, Passion & Glamor in Ethiopia (2013)
  7. Babak & Friends: A First Norooz (2005) Buy/watch
  8. Be with Me (The Notebook) (2014)
  9. Bennie the Howl / Benya Krik (1926)
  10. Bit of Luck / (1994)
  11. Born in Jerusalem and Still Alive (2015)
  12. The Brother Mike Tapes: 1985 (2015)
  13. Brutus / Brut (2014)
  14. Bukharian Lens: The Untold Story of Bukharian Jews (2015)
  15. The Castle / Das Schloß (1997) Buy/watch
  16. Children of Giant (2015)
  17. Cinema: A Public Affair (2015)
  18. Cornerstone (2013)
  19. Curt Lowens: A Life of Changes (2015)
  20. Death and the Maiden (2014)
  21. Demon (2015)
  22. Dirty Wolves / Lobos sucios (2015)
  23. The Dybbuk. A Tale of Wandering Souls / Dybuk. Rzecz o wędrówce dusz (2015)
  24. East LA Interchange (2015)
  25. Ellis (2015)
  26. Fever at Dawn / Hajnali láz (2015)
  27. Flory’s Flame (2014)
  28. The Flying Matchmaker / Shnei Kuni Leml (1970)
  29. Foto (2015)
  30. Gezoindelach (2015)
  31. Glories of Tango / Fermín glorias del tango (2014)
  32. A Grain of Truth / Ziarno prawdy (2015)
  33. Ground Floor (2015)
  34. Happy Purim (2015)
  35. Holy Week / Wielki tydzien (1995)
  36. Hummus the Movie (2015)
  37. I Don’t Belong Anywhere: The Cinema of Chantal Akerman (2016)
  38. If the Trees Could Talk (2014)
  39. In Line for Anne Frank / In de Rij voor Anne Frank (2014)
  40. Insight (2015)
  41. Intimate Stranger (1991)
  42. The Iranian Americans (2012) Buy/watch
  43. It Never Rained on Rhodes (2014)
  44. Je suis Charlie (2015)
  45. The Jewish Journey: America (2015)
  46. The Jews Are Coming / HaYehudim Baim (2014)
  47. Jews In Rome / Ebrei A Roma (2012) Buy/watch
  48. Jonah the Wet Nurse (2015)
  49. Kapo in Jerusalem / Kapo Be’Yerushalaim (2014)
  50. KHOYA: Jewish Morocco Sound Archive (2015)
  51. Klezmer (2015)
  52. The Kosher Kibbutz (2015)
  53. Lamb (2015)
  54. The Last Battle of the Tehran Children (2015)
  55. Laugh Lines (2015)
  56. The Liberators – Why We Fought (2015)
  57. Life & Hummus (2014)
  58. Line of Separation / Tannbach (2015)
  59. The Little Dictator / HaDiktator HaKatan (2015)
  60. Lives in Focus (2014)
  61. Macropolis (2012)
  62. Making Bakhsh in Rego Park (2015)
  63. The Man Who Shot Hollywood (2016)
  64. Masks (2015)
  65. Matices (2014)
  66. The Memory of Justice (1976)
  67. The Midnight Orchestra / L’orchestre de minuit (2015)
  68. Mirrors (2015)
  69. Moroccan Jews: Destinies Undone (2015)
  70. My Father’s Son / Ben Avi (2012)
  71. News from Home/News from House (2006)
  72. No Asylum: The Untold Chapter of Anne Frank’s Story (2015)
  73. Nobody Home (2015)
  74. Nobody’s Business (1996) Buy/watch
  75. Oliver Twist (2015) Buy/watch
  76. One Rock Three Religions (2015)
  77. Our Boys (2015)
  78. The Passages of Walter Benjamin (2014)
  79. Perhaps Only Migrating Birds (2015)
  80. Period. New Paragraph (2015)
  81. The Pianist (2002) Buy/watch
  82. Pizza Bagel (2012)
  83. Puzzle (2015)
  84. Rabin, The Last Day (2015)
  85. Recognition / Hakara (2015)
  86. The Rifleman’s Violin (2015)
  87. Roadmap Genesis (2015)
  88. samuel-613 (2015)
  89. The Search for Israeli Cuisine (2016)
  90. A Shabbos Mother (2005)
  91. Shalom Sesame: Be Happy, it’s Purim (2011)
  92. Silversmith / Hazoref (2015)
  93. Sisters of Mine (2011)
  94. So Many Miracles (1987) Buy/watch
  95. Song of Songs / Pesn pesney (2015)
  96. Sophie Scholl: The Final Days / Sophie Scholl – Die letzten Tage (2005) Buy/watch
  97. Spaceballs (1987) Buy/watch
  98. Spell Your Name (2006) Buy/watch
  99. Starting Over Again; A Jewish-Egyptian Story (2015)
  100. That Lovely Girl / Harcheck mi headro (2014)
  101. This Is Where I Leave You (2014) Buy/watch
  102. Tomorrow We Move / Demain on déménage (2004) Buy/watch
  103. Treblinka’s Last Witness (2014)
  104. A Trip to the Other Planet (2014)
  105. The Unbelievers (2013) Buy/watch
  106. Unorthodox (2013)
  107. Wedding Doll / Hatuna MeNiyar (2015)
  108. Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995) Buy/watch
  109. A Woman Called Golda (1982) Buy/watch
  110. Yellow Stars of Tolerance (2015)

Films added in November 2015 to

KinderlekhIn November I managed to add 123 films to Jewish Film Festivals. Some of them are old, others are new. There are shorts, feature films, documentaries and TV series among them. In the list below I used the English title for all them, but many of them are from other countries. the only thing common in them is that they were all shown at one more Jewish Film Festival this year. I hope you will find some interesting one films here:

  1. The Angriest Man in Brooklyn (2014)
  2. As I AM: The Life and Times of DJ AM (2015)
  3. Autism in Love (2015)
  4. Autobiography of a Jeep (1943)
  5. Ave Maria (2015)
  6. Baba Joon (2015)
  7. The Bentwich Syndrome (2015)
  8. Birthday Present (2014)
  9. Blue Vinyl (2002)
  10. The Boy In the Whale Suit (2014)
  11. Buchenwald Ball (2006)
  12. Camps in Paris – Des camps dans Paris (2005)
  13. Carvalho’s Journey (2015)
  14. The Chop (2015)
  15. Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah (2015)
  16. A Correspondence (2014)
  17. Danny Says (2015)
  18. The Day Hitler Died (2015)
  19. Dealing with the Devil (2015)
  20. The Divorce (2014)
  21. Drops (2012)
  22. The Duchess of Warsaw – La duchesse de Varsovie (2015)
  23. Ed & Pauline (2014)
  24. Ella (2013)
  25. Escaping Riga (2014)
  26. Faces – Adonim (2011)
  27. Fightophobia (2011)
  28. Finsterworld (2013)
  29. Fire Birds (2015)
  30. The Forgers of Histor – Les Faussaires De L’Histoire (2015)
  31. The Free Voice Of Labor: The Jewish Anarchists (1980)
  32. Gemini – Ikrek hava (2015)
  33. Goldman (2011)
  34. Grandma Stories with Noodle Soup (2015)
  35. Greenland (2014)
  36. The Guitar (2015)
  37. Hanussen (1988)
  38. Hatred: Into the Heart of Antisemitism (2014)
  39. Holy Night – Szent Este (2015)
  40. Hot Sugar’s Cold World (2015)
  41. I Accuse! (1958)
  42. I Declare Allegiance (2013)
  43. I Don’t Know – Nem Tudhatom (2015)
  44. I Only Wanted to Live – Volevo solo vivere (2006)
  45. I Smile Back (2015)
  46. I survived the Holocaust – Sobrevivi ao Holocausto (2014)
  47. Il faudra raconter (2005)
  48. The Incident (2014)
  49. Jerry-atric: One Comic’s 77-Year Climb to the Top of the Bottom (2015)
  50. Jevel Katz and his Countrymen – Jevel Katz y sus paisanos (2005)
  51. Jewish Identity in France: Between Past & Future (2014)
  52. Jewish Merchants of Downtown Hendersonville (2015)
  53. Jews of the Spanish Homeland – Los judíos de patria española (1931)
  54. Johanna Learns To Swim (2013)
  55. Kadish in Montmartre – Kadish en Montmartre (2014)
  56. Kapunka (2015)
  57. Kinderlekh (2012)
  58. The Last Five Years (2014)
  59. The Last Marranos – Les derniers Marranes (1991)
  60. The Lavatory (2014)
  61. The Liberation of Auschwitz – Die Befreiung von Auschwitz (1986)
  62. Load (2014)
  63. Love & Taxes (2015)
  64. A Love in Germany – Eine Liebe in Deutschland (1983)
  65. Malka, a girl of the Zwi Migdal – Malka, una chica de la Zwi Migdal (2014)
  66. Memories of an old child – Souvenirs d’un vieil enfant (2010)
  67. Mind/Game: The Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw (2015)
  68. Morituri (1948)
  69. Mrs. Moskowitz and the Cats – Bederech el ha-hatulim (2009)
  70. Mussa (2015)
  71. My Mayim (2015)
  72. Nah’che (2015)
  73. Open Bethlehem / Operation Bethlehem (2015)
  74. Oriented (2015)
  75. Orthodox (2015)
  76. Our 1/4 Life Crisis (2014)
  77. P.S. Jerusalem (2015)
  78. Patience that Blossoms into Death – Halált Virágzó Türelem (2015)
  79. Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict (2015)
  80. Perkal, Memory of a Name – Perkal, la memoria de un nombre (2016)
  81. Peter the 3rd (2015)
  82. The Pink Triangle and the Nazi Cure for Homosexuality – El Triángulo Rosa y la Cura Nazi para la Homosexualidad (2014)
  83. Plastic Man: The Artful Life of Jerry Ross Barrish (2014)
  84. The Plot to Assassinate Hitler – Der 20. Juli (1955)
  85. Portrait of a Serial Monogamist (2015)
  86. The Pracht Inn (2014)
  87. Semicolon; The Adventures of Ostomy Girl (2015)
  88. Septembers of Shiraz (2015)
  89. Sha Shtil: Inside Canada’s Jewish Establishment (2012)
  90. Shadows from My Past (2013)
  91. She’s Funny That Way (2014)
  92. Short on Cash – Katsar Be Kessef (2014)
  93. The Singing Abortionist (2015)
  94. Slaves – Esclavas (2015)
  95. The Stigma – L’estigma? (2012)
  96. AStorm in Summer (1970)
  97. Story About Rain – Sipur Al Geshem (2012)
  98. Suffragette (2015)
  99. Summer Solstice – Letnie przesilenie (2015)
  100. Sun in My Eyes (1960)
  101. Superman is not Jewish… But I am, a little bit – Superman n’est pas juif (…et moi un peu) (2014)
  102. Teaching Ignorance / This Is My Land (2014)
  103. Tehila (2015)
  104. Tell Me a Riddle (1980)
  105. AThing So Small (2014)
  106. Tikkun (2015)
  107. Tito’s Glasses – Titos Brille (2014)
  108. Torah Treasures & Curious Trash / Torah and Trash: The Art of Jo Milgrom (2015)
  109. ATown Called Brzostek (2014)
  110. Truce – La tregua (1997)
  111. The Twilight Zone: Walking Distance (1959)
  112. Valley – Emek (2014)
  113. The Venice Ghetto, 500 Years of Life (2015)
  114. A Walled Garden (2014)
  115. The Wanted 18 (2014)
  116. Water (2012)
  117. The Way of Man – a Film about Martin Buber (2015)
  118. Welcome to Leith (2015)
  119. What Our Fathers Did: A Nazi Legacy (2015)
  120. When I Live My Life Over Again – One More Time (2015)
  121. The Winnings Of Frankie Walls (1979)
  122. Zement (2014)
  123. Zone A – Ezor Alef (2014)

Films added in October 2015 to

My Beloved UnclesIn October I managed to add 100 films to Jewish Film Festivals. Some of them are old, others are new. There are shorts, feature films, documentaries and TV series among them. In the list below I used the English title for all them, but many of them are from other countries. the only thing common in them is that they were all shown at one more Jewish Film Festival this year. I hope you will find some interesting one films here:

    1. 10% My Child (2014)
    2. 77:78 On The Map (2015)
    3. Afterthought (2015)
    4. The Age of Love (2014)
    5. Arab Movie (2015)
    6. The Armor of Light (2015)
    7. The Arrest (2014)
    8. Atalle (2012)
    9. Atomic Falafel (2015)
    10. Band of Bowlers (2015)
    11. Beyond the Fear (2015)
    12. The Blaumlich Canal (1969)
    13. The Boys from Porcelain Alley (Die Porzellangassenbuben) (2012)
    14. The Boys of Nitzana (2015)
    15. Breakfast at Ina’s (2015)
    16. By Sidney Lumet (2015)
    17. Crossing The Line 2: The New Face of Anti-Semitism on Campus (2014)
    18. Day 40 (2014)
    19. Dégradé (2015)
    20. Dirty Business (2015)
    21. The Disobedient Consul (2015)
    22. Drawing Against Oblivion (Zeichnen gegen das Vergessen) (2014)
    23. Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
    24. Einstein in the Holy Land (2015)
    25. Etched in My Body (2015)
    26. Eva Hesse (2015)
    27. Experimenter (2015)
    28. Freak Out (2015)
    29. Gitel (2014)
    30. Grand Hotel (1932)
    31. Guardians of Remembrance (2014)
    32. Hagiga — the Story of Israeli Cinema (2015)
    33. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
    34. His Wife’s Lover (1931)
    35. Holocaust Survivor Band (2014)
    36. How to Win Enemies (2014)
    37. Imaginary Feasts (2015)
    38. In the Footsteps of Regina Jonas (2014)
    39. Jerusalem Boxing Club (2015)
    40. JeruZalem (2015)
    41. The Kind Words (2015)
    42. A Kiss to This Land (1995)
    43. Kisses to the Children/Children in Hiding (2012)
    44. The Kozalchik Affair (2015)
    45. Ladies First (2013)
    46. The Lady With a Movie Camera (2009)
    47. The Last Chance (1945)
    48. The Last Train (1973)
    49. The Law (2014)
    50. Line of Grace (2014)
    51. The Man in the Funny Suit (1960)
    52. The Man in the Wall (2015)
    53. Manhattan (1979)
    54. Meet the Hitlers (2014)
    55. My Beloved Uncles (2015)
    56. My Shortest Love Affair / Ma Plus Courte Histoire d’Amour (2015)
    57. Nan Goldin: I Remember Your Face (2013)
    58. Natasha (2015)
    59. Nichols and May: Take Two (1996)
    60. The Nobelists (2015)
    61. Note (2015)
    62. On the Banks of the Tigris: The Hidden Story of Iraqi Music (2015)
    63. The Other Dreamers (2013)
    64. The Other War (2008)
    65. Papa Was Not a Rolling Stone (2014)
    66. Paris On The Water (2014)
    67. Peacecamp 2015 (2015)
    68. People of the Graphic Novel (2012)
    69. The People vs. Fritz Bauer (2015)
    70. Phantom of Memory (Das Phantom der Erinnerung) (2012)
    71. The Plan of Time (Der Riss der Zeit) (2015)
    72. Pockets of Hope (2015)
    73. The Price of Sugar (2013)
    74. Projections of America (2014)
    75. Rabin in His Own Words (2015)
    76. Red Leaves (2014)
    77. Religions of the World (2008)
    78. Remember (2015)
    79. Requiem for a Heavyweight (1956)
    80. Sabena Hijacking: My Version (2015)
    81. Seed of Life (2014)
    82. Shoah, The Forgotten Souls of History (2015)
    83. Spadina (1984)
    84. Stardust Memories (1980)
    85. A Tale of Love and Darkness (2015)
    86. The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933)
    87. This Night (2008)
    88. Those People (2015)
    89. Till Day’s End (2014)
    90. To Life! (Auf das Leben!) (2014)
    91. Tormus (2013)
    92. Twilight of a Life (2015)
    93. Vita Activa: The Spirit of Hannah Arendt (2015)
    94. Wandering Rabbi (2014)
    95. What Cheer? (2014)
    96. What Doesn’t Kill You (2015)
    97. Where is Elle Kari and What Happened to Noriko-san? (2014)
    98. The Window Doctor (2015)
    99. Yitzhak Rabin: a Soldier Devoted To Peace (2015)
    100. Zelig (1983)

Films added in September 2015 to

Cartoonists: Footsoldiers of Democracy?In September I managed to add 43 films to Jewish Film Festivals. Some of them are old, others are new. There are shorts, feature films, documentaries and TV series among them. In the list below I used the English title for all them, but many of them are from other countries. the only thing common in them is that they were all shown at one more Jewish Film Festival this year. I hope you will find some interesting one films here:

  1. The Accidental Activist: Whoever Saves a Life… (2015)
  2. The Anarchist Rabbi (2014)
  3. Atlit (2014)
  4. Bess Myerson: Portrait of an Activist (1994)
  5. Cartoonists: Footsoldiers of Democracy? (2014)
  6. Casablanca (1942)
  7. TheCelluloid Closet (1995)
  8. Censored Voices (2015)
  9. The Chaos Within (2014)
  10. The Dowry (1969)
  11. Encirclements (2014)
  12. Every Face Has a Name (2015)
  13. Famous Nathan (2014)
  14. Five Broken Cameras (2011)
  15. Free to Be… You & Me (1974)
  16. A Fuller Life (2013)
  17. Good Luck/East and West (1923)
  18. Hebrew Superheroes (2015)
  19. Hefts Gets Screwed (2014)
  20. Here One Day (2013)
  21. TheHidden Spring (2012)
  22. Hirsch (2010)
  23. Imagine… Philip Roth Unleashed (2014)
  24. In The Presence of Mine Enemies (1960)
  25. Irwin & Fran (2013)
  26. It Takes a Shtetl: Leonard Nimoy’s Boston (2014)
  27. Josef et Aimée (2014)
  28. King Of Kensington (1975)
  29. The Last American Virgin (1982)
  30. Laura Adler’s Last Love Affair (1990)
  31. Lemon Popsicle (1978)
  32. The Loner: The Homecoming of Lemuel Stove (1965)
  33. Look at Us Now, Mother! (2015)
  34. Lookout (2014)
  35. Make Me a Match (2013)
  36. Mom and Dad, I Have Something to Tell You (2010)
  37. Phoenix (2014)
  38. There and Here (2014)
  39. Tightrope (2014)
  40. The Train (2015)
  41. Transport XX to Auschwitz (2012)
  42. Very Semi-Serious (2015)
  43. Women in Sink (2015)

Films added in August 2015 to

Advanced StyleIn my non-existent spare time I attempt to maintain a website about Jewish Film Festivals and add the movies they play. In August I found a bit more time than usual, hence  I manage  to add 92 films to this site. Some of them are old, others are new. There are shorts, feature films, documentaries and TV series among them. In the list below I used the English title for all them, but many of them are from other countries. the only thing common in them is that they were all shown at one more Jewish Film Festival this year. I hope you will find some interesting one films here:

  1. Above And Beyond: Bruce Sundlun’s Incredible WWII Journey
  2. Advanced Style
  3. Albi and Alma
  4. Alex’s Letters
  5. Aliza
  6. All My Loved Ones
  7. Amazing Grace
  8. Angels of Revolution
  9. Back to the Soil
  10. Baobab
  11. Bass Clef Bliss
  12. The Battle of Algiers
  13. Berlin Calling
  14. The Birdcage
  15. A Blind Hero: The Love of Otto Weidt
  16. Breakin’
  17. Clockwork Doll: Dahlia Ravikovitch
  18. Code of Silence
  19. Compass Cabaret 55
  20. Con Los Pies En La Tierra
  21. Cry of the City
  22. Dancing Before the Enemy: How a Teenage Boy Fooled the Nazis and Lived
  23. Desperado Square
  24. Divided We Fall
  25. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
  26. The Eichmann Show
  27. Even The Wind
  28. Fauda
  29. Fear and Desire
  30. Fires on the Plain
  31. Firstborn
  32. Frozen Days
  33. The Garden (Tribute to Drifting – 1983)
  34. Generation War
  35. Gevald
  36. Gloomy Sabbath
  37. Haven / Ceasefire
  38. Heart of a Lion
  39. Hearts Melt and Knees Tremble
  40. Hora
  41. Hotline
  42. The House on 92nd Street
  43. How to Break into Yiddish Vaudeville
  44. I Was Nineteen
  45. In the Shadow of King David
  46. It Always Rains on Sunday
  47. Jewish Girls Are Easy
  48. A Kids Game
  49. The King of Nerac
  50. A Letter to Wedgwood
  51. Living Room
  52. The Long Way Home
  53. Longing
  54. Manpower
  55. Marzipan Flowers
  56. Matti Caspi: Confession
  57. Mom Is Not Crazy
  58. The Mystery of Happiness
  59. The Naked City
  60. The Night of Fools
  61. Nowhere in Africa
  62. Nymphs in the Mist
  63. On a Technicality
  64. Once upon a time there was a king
  65. Paris Is Burning
  66. The Prime Ministers Part 2: Soldiers and Peacemakers
  67. Princess
  68. Probation Time
  69. Red Father
  70. Relocation
  71. Sammy: The Journey
  72. Shree 420
  73. Silent
  74. A Soldier and a Boy
  75. The Soldiers
  76. Son of Saul
  77. Speaking of Yiddish
  78. The Ten Plagues
  79. Things Behind the Sun
  80. Three Women
  81. Tsili
  82. The Tugendhat House
  83. The Unshod Man
  84. Variant Polgar
  85. Vice Versa
  86. The Wandering Muse
  87. The War Game
  88. A War Story
  89. We Are Here
  90. YidLife Crisis
  91. Yona
  92. ZazaLand

Summer sci-fi TV series

Seems like nowadays if/when I watch TV I mostly watch sci-fi. This summer was especially rich in shows. I counted 8 new series and 7 series in their second or later seasons. That’s 15. Most ever in one season, in my life. These are all sci-fi shows on way or another, but the way is often quite different.

Let’s look first at the brand new shows:

Dark MatterBetween:
My take: wants to grab too much, goes nowhere, intrigue falls flat.
IMDB summary: Between is the story of a town under siege from a mysterious disease that has wiped out everybody 22 years and older. The series explores the power vacuum that results when a government has quarantined a 10-mile diameter area and left the inhabitants to fend for themselves.

Dark Matter:
My take: Light show, with the right amount of spaceship/high tech fantasy, interpersonal interaction, explosive action. I like how we learn the stories of these “criminals”, who are often falsely accused of wrong doing.
HumansIMDB summary: The six-person crew of a derelict spaceship awakens from stasis in the farthest reaches of space. Their memories wiped clean, they have no recollection of who they are or how they got on board. The only clue to their identities is a cargo bay full of weaponry and a destination: a remote mining colony that is about to become a war zone. With no idea whose side they are on, they face a deadly decision. Will these amnesiacs turn their backs on history, or will their pasts catch up with them?

My take: Fits well int the current societal debate about the future of human identity and existence at the dawn of artificial intelligence. The show is a bit slow, but has some great monologues and writing in it too.
IMDB summary: In a parallel present where the latest must-have gadget for any busy family is a ‘Synth’ – a highly-developed robotic servant that’s so similar to a real human it’s transforming the way we live.

My take: Very light show, with lots of ground and some space action. Pure entertainment that doesn’t want to do more.
IMDB summary: In the Quad, a planetary system on the brink of a bloody interplanetary class war, a fun loving trio of bounty hunters attempt to remain impartial as they chase deadly warrants.

Mr. Robot:
My take: Disturbingly good writing and intriguing agenda. I.e. Read the main character’s partial answer to the question “what is it about society that disappoints you so much?” Oh, I don’t know. Is it that we collectively thought Steve Jobs was a great man even when we knew he made billions off the backs of children?… Or maybe it’s that it feels like all our heroes are counterfeit. The world itself’s just one big hoax. Spamming each other with our burning commentary *bullshit* masquerading as insight. Our social media faking as intimacy. Or is it that we voted for this. Not with our rigged elections but with our things, our property, our money. I’m not saying anything new, we all know we do this, not because “Hunger Games” books make us happy, but because we want to be sedated. Because it’s painful not to pretend because we’re cowards…
Mr. RobotIMDB summary: Follows a young computer programmer (Malek) who suffers from social anxiety disorder and forms connections through hacking. He’s recruited by a mysterious anarchist, who calls himself Mr. Robot.

The Messengers:
My take: I always enjoy and learn from  TV shows with some explicitly religious content. This show however got rightfully cancelled after one season. Simplistic rehash of the currently trendy apocalypse genre with the four horseman and throwing in some revenging and preventing angels. Too formulaic.
IMDB summary: A mysterious object crashes on earth and a group of unconnected strangers die from an energy pulse it emits, but then re-awaken to find out that they have been deemed responsible for preventing the impending Apocalypse.

My take: Didn’t finish watching it yet. Too slow and too complex in the beginning at the same time. Visually stunning, but has too much sex for my taste. Nevertheless exciting and big budget enough to hold attention.
IMDB summary: A group of people around the world are suddenly linked mentally, and must find a way to survive being hunted by those who see them as a threat to the world’s order.

My take: Another very light show with eye-candy and not much more. Numbs the mind comfortably when that’s what’s needed.
IMDB summary: A young woman is recruited into a secret government agency to be “stitched” into the minds of the recently deceased, using their memories to investigate murders.

My take: I enjoy the international/multicultural/multi-perspective approaches the problem to be solved requires. But the premise is so unplausable that I find it hard to suspend my disbelief.
IMDB summary: Violent animal attacks upon humans are occurring all over the world. Jackson Oz, an American zoologist who offers safaris in Africa, begins to notice the animals’ strange behavior and takes it upon himself to solve the reason why before these attacks become more coordinated and ferocious.

And now the returning shows

Defiance (3rd season):
My take: Big enough budget for some decent action and special effects. I also follow carefully the father-daughter struggle. Otherwise it can run smoothly in the background, except the bits when they speak one of the several alien languages and I have to read the subtitles.
IMDB summary: In the year 2046, it’s a new Earth – with new rules. Over thirty years after various alien races arrived on Earth, the landscape is completely altered, terraformed nearly beyond recognition. To the town of Defiance, on what used to be St. Louis, comes the mysterious Nolan  and his charge, Irisa . As they settle into town – overseen by the mayor, Amanda Rosewater and filled with residents like the powerful Rafe McCawley, enterprising lounge owner Kenya  and the ambitious, alien Tarrs – events begin to unfold that threaten the fragile peace this border town has fought for.

DominionDominion (2nd season):
My take: This season is much better than the first one. Easier to follow, more nuanced character developments and more detailed theology/histories. Angels are metaphorical and in this case physical reflections of humans.
IMDB summary: Follows the perilous journey of a rebellious young soldier who discovers he’s the unlikely savior of humanity.

Extant (2nd season):
My take: Halle Berry still kicks ass, even as a crazy, disgraced, but heroic astronaut. Nice minor tech gadgets in the background, i.e. great attention to details.
IMDB summary: An astronaut returns home from a year long solo mission in space. She tries to reconnect with her husband and son in their everyday life. Her experiences in space and home lead to events that ultimately will change the course of human history.

Falling SkiesFalling Skies (5th season):
My take: The fight still goes on and that’s a good thing. Intra, inter and extra fights are equally important
IMDB summary: The chaotic aftermath of an alien attack has left most of the world completely incapacitated. In the six months since the initial invasion, the few survivors have banded together outside major cities to begin the difficult task of fighting back. Each day is a test of survival as citizen soldiers work to protect the people in their care while also engaging in an insurgency campaign against the occupying alien force.

The Last Ship (2nd season):
My take: I don’t know why I keep watching this series of gun-battles, interspersed with patriotic speeches and vistas. Maybe because I am too much of a sucker for post-apocalyptic genre.
IMDB summary: The crew of a naval destroyer is forced to confront the reality of a new existence when a pandemic kills off most of the earth’s population.

The StrainThe Strain (2nd season):
My take: A not-so-lonely Holocaust survivor with his ragtag team (including a few scientists for good measure though) fighting superstrong and creepy demons with some nazi heritage. I certainly hope the god guys will win. I watch not just for the Jewish content, but it is a big part of it.
IMDB summary: A thriller that tells the story of Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, the head of the Center for Disease Control Canary Team in New York City. He and his team are called upon to investigate a mysterious viral outbreak with hallmarks of an ancient and evil strain of vampirism. As the strain spreads, Eph, his team, and an assembly of everyday New Yorkers, wage war for the fate of humanity itself.

Under the Dome Under the Dome (3rd season):
My take: Can it get more ridicules? Just wait and see. (Yes)
IMDB summary: An invisible and mysterious force field descends upon a small fictional town in the United States, trapping residents inside, cut off from the rest of civilization. The trapped townsfolk must discover the secrets and purpose of the “dome” and its origins, while coming to learn more than they ever knew about each other.