A Gem from Argentina and a Backward Glance at France

The New York Jewish Film Festival continues apace at the Walter Reade, and my rundown on the second week can be found here. The new Daniel Burman, Empty Nest, is quite good, and he is going from strength to strength. Burman makes quiet, understated films, so he doesn't get the critical attention he deserves in the U.S., but he is gradually climbing the ladder of quality with low-key mastery.

Meanwhile, the Museum of Jewish Heritage is running a quite unusual series of French films in conjunction with their exhibit on the novelist Irene Nemirovsky. There have been, to the best of my knowledge, only two adaptations of her work for film, both in the early '30s, and they are showing one of them, Julien Duvivier's David Golder (1930). But Dudley Andrew has put together a very ingenious series of more recent films that dance around Nemirovsky's brief life to great effect. David Golder is definitely worth a trip to Battery Park; it's so rare that thre aren't any subtitled prints (the Museum will be projecting new subtitles under the image). It's Duvivier's first sound film and you can sense his relief at moving into talkies, from the film's explosive opening montage. Harry Baur gives a dominating performance in the title role, and who knows when you'll ever get another chance to see this one. I had a nice chat with Prof. Andrew, which you can read here.

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