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May 28, 2016 / 20 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘film’

‘Son of Saul’ – Hungarian Film about the Holocaust Wins Golden Globe [video]

Monday, January 11th, 2016

“Son of Saul,” a 2015 Hungarian film directed by László Nemes and co-written by Nemes and Clara Royer, has won a Golden Globe award Sunday night at the Beverly Hilton. The film is about a Hungarian-Jewish Sonderkommando, burning the dead in Auschwitz, who one day finds the body of a boy he believes is his son.

Nemes told the audience in his acceptance comments, “The Holocaust has become, over the years, an abstraction. For me, it’s more of a face, a human face. Let us not forget this face.”

Nemes told reporters Sunday, “We see that genocides are still going on, they haven’t stopped. I think we have to look into the human soul, and cinema can do that in a very visceral way. I think that’s why I wanted to make this film.”

Nemes, who is Jewish, told Anthem Magazine last year, in Cannes: “We were tired of the usual representation of the Holocaust. We were just sick of it. We tried to design a story, a film, that doesn’t function the same way and we tried to break away from codes. The film was born out of the frustration and the need to talk about that. Then we came across the material and the Sonderkommando writings that sort of mapped out the inner thinkings of these workers. From that, we got the one-liner for the story out of the blue. This guy finds a body and there’s a moral dilemma: What is he supposed to do? That’s how the project started.”

JNi.Media

Farewell to Jewish Actor, Singer Theodore Bikel, 91

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

An icon of the stage, the silver screen and the Land of Israel has gone home.

Jewish actor, singer and philanthropist Theodore Bikel has passed away of natural causes at the age of 91. Bikel drew his final breath Tuesday morning at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, his agent Robert Malcolm told The Associated Press.

Bikel was the symbol of a generation – several generations, in fact.

Jews remember the songs of Theodore Bikel when he was still singing them in Yiddish on a 78 rpm record, spun on my parents’ record player. When he was Tevye, in Fiddler on the Roof. When he was a Jewish folk singer.

Born in Vienna in 1924, the young Bikel moved with his family to Palestine as a teenager.

He spent much of his youth there, discovering his passion for drama while living on a kibbutz. By 1943 was acting in Tel Aviv’s HaBima Theater. He moved on to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London in 1946.

Bikel sang in 21 languages, recording more than 20 contemporary and folk music albums, in addition to albums in Yiddish. He helped found the Newport Folk Festival in 1959.

His repertoire was endless. He appeared in opera productions, on television shows, on the Broadway stage and on the silver screen.

Bikel received an Oscar nomination for his 1958 portrayal of a Southern sheriff in “The Defiant Ones,” and played the grumpy Soviet submarine captain in the Oscar-nominated 1966 Cold War comedy “The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming.”

A fierce supporter of Jewish causes, the Democratic Party and human rights groups, Theodore Bikel was one of six American Jewish Congress leaders arrested in 1986 while protesting outside the embassy of the Soviet Union, demanding “Let My People Go!”

Bikel is survived by his wife Aimee Ginsburg, his sons Rob and Danny Bikel, stepsons Ze’ev and Noam Ginsburg and three grandchildren.

Baruch Dayan Emet.

Hana Levi Julian

Israel’s Human Rights and Historic Heroism

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Yishai takes issue with statements made by former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who called Israel “forged and temporary.” Yishai says that while Iran is a repressed society in which democratic aspirations are quashed, Israel is a beacon of human rights with proven historic staying-power. But, he warns, Israel needs to keep hitting that concept home.

Then, Yishai is joined by Knesset insider Jeremy Saltan for a lightning news wrap: Six Arab-Israeli teachers in the Negev have been found to be ISIS-supporters; the budget is being delayed; IDF service is being shortened; and more.

Finally, Yishai is joined by super-IDF-soldier Shai Ish Shalom, who remembers the hostage-rescue operation at Entebbe in 1976, recalling the precision-fighting during the fateful moments of the raid. VOI’s Judy Balint joins in to recount the last official commemoration ceremony of the raid, called Operation Thunderbolt/Yonatan, held in 2001.
Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Moshe Herman

Film Producer Steve Tisch to Chair Film Festival in Israel

Monday, March 31st, 2014

Steve Tisch, one of the most successful producers in the motion picture industry, will chair the 16th Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival at Tel Aviv University May 31-June 7, 2014.

Tisch is a partner at Escape Artists Productions and chairman of the New York Giants is the only person with both an Academy Award and a Super Bowl ring.

Tisch helped launch Tom Cruise’s career with the sleeper hit” Risky Business,” and his credits with Escape Artists include The Pursuit of Happyness, The Weather Man, Seven Pounds, Knowing, The Taking of Pelham 123, The Back-Up Plan, and Hope Springs.

He has been involved with the Giants since his father, Preston Robert Tisch, purchased 50 percent of the franchise in 1991. Tisch helped win the successful bid to bring Super Bowl XLVIII to MetLife Stadium in February.

“Our students will have the privilege of learning from Mr. Tisch, a role model of accomplishment and an internationally recognized figure in the film industry,” said Prof. Joseph Klafter, president of Tel Aviv University.

The Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival is the largest in the world and this year will begin as an annual instead of a bi-annual event.

Produced by more than 100 student volunteers, it showcases promising young directors from over 40 countries.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Documentary on Oldest Shoah Survivor Wins Oscar a Week after Her Death

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

A documentary about the world’s oldest Holocaust survivor won an Oscar one week after she died.

Alice Herz-Sommer, who died in London on Feb. 23 at the age of 110, was the subject of “The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life,” which won the Academy Award for documentary short Sunday night.

The Prague-born Herz-Sommer, a concert pianist, was a prisoner in Theresienstadt.

In accepting the Oscar, the film’s director, Malcolm Clarke, said that he was struck by Herz-Sommer’s “extraordinary capacity for joy” and “amazing capacity for forgiveness.”

JTA

World’s Oldest Holocaust Survivor Stars in Oscar-Nominated Film

Friday, February 14th, 2014

In her 110 years, Alice Herz-Sommer has been an accomplished concert pianist and teacher, a wife and mother — and a prisoner in Theresienstadt.

Now she is the star of an Oscar-nominated documentary showing her  indomitable optimism, cheerfulness and vitality despite all the upheavals and horrors she faced in the 20th century.

“The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life,” a 38-minute film up for best short documentary at the Academy Awards to be handed out next month, begins in her native Prague. Alice — everyone from presidents on down calls her Alice — was born on Nov. 26, 1903 into an upper-class Jewish family steeped in literature and classical music.

A friend and frequent visitor was “Uncle Franz,” surname Kafka, along with composer Gustav Mahler and other luminaries.

Trained as a pianist from childhood, Alice made her concert debut as a teenager, married, had a son and seemed destined for the pleasant, cultured life of a prosperous Middle European. But everything changed in 1939 when Hitler, casually tearing up the Munich accord of a year earlier, marched his troops into Prague and brought with him his anti-Semitic edicts.

Her public concert career was over, yet the family managed to hang on in an increasingly restrictive existence in the Czech capital.

In 1943, however, Alice and her husband, their 6-year old son Raphael (Rafi), and Alice’s mother were loaded on the transport to Theresienstadt. The fortress town some 30 miles from Prague was touted by Nazi propaganda as the model ghetto — “The Fuhrer’s gift to the Jews,” with its own orchestra, theater group and even soccer teams.

With the full extent of the Holocaust still largely unknown, Alice took her deportation with relative equanimity, as was typical for many European Jews.

“If they have an orchestra in Terezin, how bad can it be?” she recalled asking, using the Czech name of the town.

Alice soon found out, as her mother and husband perished there. Alice was saved by her musical gifts and became a member of the camp orchestra and gave more than 100 recitals.

But her main focus was on Rafi, trying to make his life bearable, to escape the constant hunger and infuse him with her own hopefulness.

“What she did reminded me of Roberto Benigni in the Italian film ‘Life is Beautiful,’ “ said Malcolm Clarke, director of “The Lady in Number 6.” “He plays an Italian Jew who pretends to his young son that life in the camp is some kind of elaborate game for the boy’s special amusement.”

Liberated in 1945, Alice and Rafi returned to Prague but four years later left for Israel. There she taught at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and performed in concerts frequently attended by Golda Meir, while Rafi became a concert cellist.

Alice said she loved her 37 years living in Israel, but when Rafi, her only child, decided to move to London, she went with him. A few years later Rafi died at 65, but the mother remained in her small flat, No. 6, in a North London apartment house.

Nearly all of the film was shot over a two-year period inside the flat dominated by an old Steinway piano on which Alice played four hours each day, to the enjoyment of her neighbors.

Originally the filmmakers considered “Dancing Under the Gallows” as the film’s title before going with “The Lady in Number 6.”

It was a wise decision, for the film is anything but a grim Holocaust documentary with Alice’s unfailing affirmation of life, usually accompanied by gusts of laughter.

Her health and speech have declined in recent months, and she no longer does interviews. But in a brief phone conversation, conducted mainly in German, Alice attributed her outlook partially to having been born with optimistic genes and a positive attitude.

JTA

An IMAX Film of the Jerusalem You Never Have Seen Before (Video)

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

Five years in the making, the first IMAX film ever made about Jerusalem is as much a visual tour de force as a marvel of cultural diplomacy.

“Jerusalem,” which had its world premiere last week at Boston’s Museum of Science, uses cutting-edge cinematography to immerse the audience in the ancient city’s historic sites from rarely seen perspectives.

Over the course of 45 minutes, viewers are treated to rare aerial views of the Old City as Jews gather at the Western Wall for the priestly blessing, Christian pilgrims march down the Via Dolorosa and Muslims gather at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the first Friday of Ramadan.

Distributed by National Geographic Entertainment, the film, narrated by the British actor Benedict Cumberbatch, will show on IMAX screens and in digital 3-D cinemas across the United States in the coming weeks.

Gaining access to some of the world’s most sensitive and contested locations was a test of devotion and artful negotiations that took the film’s three producers and a team of advisers years to accomplish. Preparations required dozens of meetings with Israeli and Palestinian Authority officials, the Israeli army and the many clerics who control the city’s religious sites.

Filming from a low-altitude helicopter in the Old City of Jerusalem’s strict no-fly zone required a permit that had not been granted in more than 20 years, the filmmakers said, and acquiring the permit took eight months of negotiations.

In advance of the shooting, producers took out ads in the major Hebrew- and Arabic-language newspapers to notify residents about the helicopter filming.

“There was nothing that was not complicated,” Taran Davies, one of the film’s producers, said at the premiere.

Even the terrestrial shots were difficult to carry off. For the scene filmed at the Western Wall, an IMAX camera was mounted on a crane above the crowds.

The most challenging authorization by far was for the Temple Mount, known in Islam as the Muslim Noble Sanctuary, which required permission from the Islamic custodial body, the religious affairs ministry in Jordan and Israeli security forces.

A critical figure in helping the producers navigate the logistical maze was Ido Aharoni, now Israel’s consul general in New York. Aharoni first learned about the film six years ago when he directed Brand Israel, a project to promote Israel around the world.

He recognized the potential of portraying the country’s historical and cultural gems in such a visually powerful medium. IMAX films also typically screen in museums and can run for years.

“The whole purpose of the movie is to produce a visually awesome experience for the moviegoer who happens to be a museumgoer; it can’t be judged like any other movie,” Aharoni told JTA. “Realizing that, we told [the producers], ‘Whatever you need, we’ll help you.’ ”

The film’s mesmerizing visuals are woven into a narrative propelled by the voices of three teenage Jerusalemite women — Jewish, Christian and Muslim. Fluent in English, the women offer eloquent descriptions of the deep religious, cultural and family ties that bind them and their respective religions to their home city.

Though the film was carefully planned down to the last minute and camera angle, Daniel Ferguson, the film’s producer, writer and director, told JTA the teens’ words were their own.

“My goal is to promote understanding,” Ferguson told JTA. “The film will change assumptions and give a window into another point of view.”

The voices of the women are supplemented by that of Jodi Magness, an archaeologist at the University of North Carolina, who guides viewers through an ancient tunnel and visits active excavation sites that continue to unearth the history of the land.

The filmmakers took great pains to balance the presentation of all three religions, according to George Duffield, another producer with longstanding ties to Israel. He and Ferguson say they were at times pressed to take a position on controversial or political issues, but insisted on neutrality.

“Everyone wanted the film to be about their own faith,” Duffield said. “That’s how they see the city.”

The producers hope the film can be used to promote tolerance and understanding. Profits will be donated to the Jerusalem Foundation and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem to underwrite projects that benefit all residents of Jerusalem.

Jerusalem’s Tower of David Museum in a still from the IMAX film “Jerusalem."

Jerusalem’s Tower of David Museum in a still from the IMAX film “Jerusalem.”

JTA

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/a-imax-film-of-the-jerusalem-you-never-have-seen-before/2013/10/03/

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