Families, Caves and Israeli Natural Wonders

Before I write another word, I want to urge you to haul your tired butt down to the Quad Cinemas (if you're in NYC) and quickly catch a family drama that opened there today, Marc Meyers's second feature film, Harvest. American indie films that open in small venues in this town tend to vanish quickly and I fear that this one will not be an exception. It's not the greatest film since Griffith, but it is a lovely and accomplished work that will reward your time and patience. My full review is here.

There are also some interesting offerings in this year's Israel Film Festival. I've already given a link to my first of two articles on the event in Jewish Week. Here's the second one. Incidentally, for anyone who is interested, I'll be moderating a panel discussion with several of the directors represented at this year's festival on Saturday night, following the 7:15 p.m. screening of Avi Nesher's The Matchmaker (at the AMC Loew's 84th St., 84th and Broadway).

Finally, and this probably should have been first, but you know how I am, here's my candidate for film of the year, so far, Werner Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams. I am not well disposed towards 3-D movies as a rule. I've seen a lot of them and most directors use the format as a gimmick. But Herzog found a subject that is uniquely well-suited to 3-D, a cave in France that features the oldest known cave paintings, much older than its famous brothers in Lascaux and elsewhere. The locale is precarious, so access is extremely limited. The works are quite extraordinary and ought to be seen. Herzog was given unprecedented access and the result is a wonderful and typically idiosyncratic blend of Herzogian free-associating and beauty. Because of the ways in which the unknown artist(s) used the undulations of the cave walls as part of the paintings themselves, these images cry out for 3-D. Herzog uses the process brilliantly, and I must admit that, except for a little wobble of motion sickness at the very beginning, I was utterly enchanted with the latest incarnation of three-dimensional cinema. Don't waste your time seeing this film flat; it absolutely must be seen in 3-D. And it absolutely must be seen.

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