A Backlog of Cinema

Occasionally while on-line I find myself wondering about people who let their blogs just trickle away to nothingness. I suppose that my Jewish guilt is so powerful that it acts like a kind of Puritanizm to prevent me from ever doing that. But I certainly can see why other people less driven by their internal governing voices can.

At any rate, I certainly haven't been idle the last two weeks. Indeed, here are links to my two latest film pieces, a review of three recent Jewish-themed films playing around town, and an interview with David Volach, director of My Father, My Lord. At the risk of cliche, let me add that if you are going to see only one more film this year, the Volach should be it. Although he cites Kieslowski as his immediate influence -- and the Polish master's presence is palpable -- I think Volach is what I've been seeking for a long time, a Jewish filmmaker sufficiently steeped in his own religion to understand how to apply the lessons of Bresson, Dreyer, Tarkovsky to Jewish spirituality, and vice versa.

Needless to say, I haven't gotten around to writing up the rest of the Tribeca films. I will say this, though; because of its sheer size, Tribeca is a refreshing change from the more focused festivals that are the rule in NYC. The New York Film Festival continues to be one of my favorite cinematic events of the year, but Tribeca is -- in a very different way -- every bit as much fun.

And of the films I saw at Tribeca this year, let me draw your attention to just a couple:

----The Chicken, the Fish and the King Crab, a Spanish documentary about the Bocuse d'Or cooking contest, which includes a memorable line from a Norwegian fisheries expert: "We have happy halibut."

---Strangers, a new Israeli film by Guy Nattiv and Erez Tadmor, virtually a two-hander in which Liron Levo and Lubna Azabal meet cute at the World Cup then become deeply entangled with one another, a cross-cultural romance (Israeli-Palestinian) that could have been preachy and obvious but is low-key and charming. This one has a distributor and will probably turn up in the fall.