Showing posts from October, 2012

An Old Story Retold/A New Festival Carries On

Simon and the Oaks, the new Swedish film that's opening today in NYC, retells a familiar story of adopted chldren with biological family secrets. By putting the story in the context of the Shoah, it makes the cut for me to review it for Jewish Week, and you can find the story here

 When the Gold Coast Film Festival was launched last year on Long Island, my long-ago stomping grounds, I was as much amused as pleased. Certainly the metropolitan area needs more film festivals like I need . . . more film festivals. However, on the strength of their second year schedule, they probably are filling a real need on the Island. Certainly two the Jewish-themed films on the program are worthy of much wider audiences than they have had so far. When it played New Directors/New Films earlier this year, I wrote of The Rabbi's Cat:

My Second NYFF Piece

It's now up on the Jewish Week website. I'll have a little more to say about a few films other films in the next day or two. (And for those of you with little or no Hebrew, l'dor va-dor means 'from generation to generation.')

In the meantime, on an infinitely more serious note, Jafar Panahi, the Iranian filmmaker currently under house arrest while he waits to begin a six-year prison sentence, and facing a 20-year ban from filmmaking, is not sitting idly by. In an interview with IndieWire, his friend and occasional collaborator Abbas Kiarostami says that Panahi has made a second film, a follow-up to last year's This Is Not a Film, in which he continues his one-man/one-camera battle with the current regime. Panahi is not just a very good filmmaker -- I'd say that on the basis of Crimson Gold, Offside and The White Balloon -- but he's a man of rare integrity and courage.

Russian Truth or Dare

It has been inspiring watching the women of Pussy Riot stand up to Vladimir Putin's private army of bullies and to the Orthodox Church. (It's also been fun listening to broadcasters handling the band's name.) Of course, I support them as prisoners of conscience and am doing the usual things to try and get them out of prison.

But they are hardly the first opponents of Putin's supposed democracy. A new DVD release from Kino Lorber is an excellent reminder of one of their rather more conventionally attired predecessors,

New York Film Festival 1

The first of my two Jewish Week pieces on the Film Festival is up on the newspaper's site. This one focuses on three Israeli films being shown in the event. I'll have more to say shortly.