Dark Days Fore and Aft

Here's a movie recommendation for you. Stefan Ruzowitzky's The Counterfeiters is one of the more inventive films about the Holocaust, a tight little offering that works as both a meditation on morality and community and as a suspense film. My review, in this week's Jewish Week, is here.


Sad news from outside the film world. As some of you know, I am an ardent follower of English football (a hangover from my brief and undistinguished career as a defensive midfielder at Lawrence Junior High and Lawrence High). Anyway, the great -- and greatly troubled -- Paul Gascoigne, the George Best of his generation, i.e., an immensely talented footballer whose off-field antics wrecked his career and his life, was picked up by Newcastle police and committed under the Mental Health Act after he caused a disturbance at a hotel. For all you film folks who don't know about Gascoigne, I think the best analogy would probably be Sam Peckinpah, a man whose demons chased him out of the film industry despite a monumental talent.

On Gascoigne's website there is a sentence that reads, "Sometimes it isn't much fun being Paul Gascoigne." Understatement, to say the least. Gazza, as he is known, is someone who has wrestled with alcoholism, depression and panic attacks, apparently for all of his adult life. This latest chapter in his downward spiralling saga just makes me feel very, very sad.