The Arty Semite

Claude Lanzmann Honored in Berlin

By JTA

French documentary filmmaker and producer Claude Lanzmann will be honored at the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival, where he spoke about filming his famous “Shoah” documentary.

Getty Images

Lanzmann, 87, was expected to receive an Honorary Golden Bear for his lifetime achievement on Thursday evening.

“I was happy, I was moved and I was proud,” Lanzmann told some 200 people who gathered for a conversation between the filmmaker and German film historian Ulrich Gregor the day before the award ceremony.

Lanzmann became famous for his 10-hour, 13-minute documentary, “Shoah,” which was released in 1985 and took about 11 years to make. A digital restoration of the film was shown at the festival, which began Feb. 7 and runs through Feb. 17.

In a wide-ranging discussion, Lanzmann recalled how he had tricked old Nazis into giving him interviews. He said that a turning point in the filmmaking came when he set foot in the Polish village of Treblinka, where the death camp was located. Nearly 1 million Jews were gassed there, according to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

“I could not admit that a village called Treblinka with people living inside it could exist, Lanzmann recalled. “But it did exist.”

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Berlin International Film Festival, Claude Lanzmann, Shoah

Friday Film: Nazis on the Moon

By Michael Kaminer

“Nazis on the moon” sounds like a punchline. But it’s actually the premise of the most talked-about feature at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival. The plot of Finnish entry “Iron Sky” revolves around “a group of Nazis who escape to the moon at the end of World War II to plan a new assault,” according to BBC News. “Added to the farce is a US President with more than a passing resemblance to former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, and a navy cruiser called the USS George W Bush.”

The most expensive film in Finnish history, “Iron Sky” has, according to BBCNews, “been hailed by some members of the international press as a sign that Germans are now at peace with their Nazi past.” But some Germans felt less comfortable. “Although I heard that audiences were laughing out loud, in my screening… it wasn’t like that,” Kerstin Sopke of the Associated Press told the BBC.

The film’s director, Timo Vuorensola, doesn’t see it that way either. “No, I absolutely think that’s not what’s it about,” he told The Arty Semite in an email.

I think that Germans have as a people moved away from the times, and have learned perhaps more than any other people in the world the horrors fascism brings, and know that history needs to be respected, but that the Germans living now (other than some very special cases) are not the ones who did the horrors. So they haven’t gotten ‘a peace with Nazi past,’ as BBC strangely words it, but they’ve understood that the current German youth did not do the bad things, thus making it possible to approach the subject with other emotions than the well-known ‘German guilt’. It’s time now to make sure it will never happen again.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Timo Vuorensola, Michael Kaminer, Iron Sky, Film, Berlin International Film Festival

Out and About: Jewish Films Honored in Berlin; Painting Rahm Emanuel With Pancakes

By Ezra Glinter

  • How one of the most popular Jewish books of the modern era explained everything from Kabbalah to cosmology, astronomy, geography, botany, zoology and medicine.

  • Novelist David Bezmozgis and filmmaker Richard J. Lewis exchange letters on “Barney’s Version.”

Dan Lacey

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Yisroel Markov, The Three Stooges, The Lord of the Rings, The King's Speech, Richard J. Lewis, Rahm Emanuel, Out and About, Lalo Schifrin, Justin Timberlake, Jewlicious, David Bezmozgis, Christopher Hitchens, Barney's Version, Berlin International Film Festival

Out and About: Garry Kasparov on Bobby Fischer; Where Have All the Holocaust Movies Gone?

By Ezra Glinter

Konrad Bercovici
  • Garry Kasparov tells us what it’s like to play chess in the shadow of Bobby Fischer.

  • In a 1923 article in The Nation, “Romanian-Jewish-American-Yiddish novelist, journalist, dandy, screwball folklorist of the Gypsies” Konrad Bercovici described “The Greatest Jewish City in the World.”

  • An Israeli forger almost managed to sell a fake Kandinsky for three million Euro.

  • You have until February 27 to catch Yeshiva University’s annual Seforim Sale.

  • Sexploitation filmmaker David F. Friedman and actor Len Lesser, who played Uncle Leo on “Seinfeld,” have died.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Zorba The Greek, Yehudah Halevi, Wassily Kandinsky, Uncle Leo, The Sway Machinery, Sexploitation, Seinfeld, Paul Kletzki, Out and About, Oscars, Mikis Theodorakis, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Len Lesser, Konrad Bercovici, Joe Banowetz, Jeremiah Lockwood, Jeffrey Kahane, Hillel Halkin, Grammys, Golden Globes, Garry Kasparov, Erwin Schulhoff, David F. Friedman, Daniel Hope, Bobby Fischer, Berlin International Film Festival

Out and About: Jewish Hong Kong; Festivus in Orange County

By Ezra Glinter

Wiki Commons
Jean Epstein
  • The Arty Semite contributor Christopher DeWolf profiles Hong Kong’s Rabbi Asher Oser and looks at the city’s Jewish history.

  • The Jewish Chronicle talks to actor Elliott Gould.

  • VICE Magazine talks to author Sam Lipsyte.

  • “Lipstikka,” an already-controversial film by Israeli director Jonathan Sagall, will premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival in February.

  • Anselm Kiefer’s latest exhibit carries a special message for Jews.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Shemspeed, Sam Lipsyte, Paul Goodman, Mendy Pellin, Orange County, Lipstikka, Jean Epstein, Jonathan Sagall, Hong Kong, Festivus, Elliott Gould, Ezra Glinter, Christopher DeWolf, Berlin International Film Festival, Anselm Kiefer, The Jewish Chronicle, VICE

Eli Wallach: Great Jewish Actor, Now and Forever

By Benjamin Ivry

Richard Corman

On February 22, this year’s annual benefit for Theater For The New City’s Emerging Playwrights Program at the National Arts Club honors acting couple Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson, which seems only natural. In 2005, Wallach released his delightful autobiography “The Good, the Bad and Me: In My Anecdotage,” but at 94, Brooklyn-born Wallach is neither in his dotage nor his anecdotage.

This month’s Berlin International Film Festival (February 12 - 21) features the world premiere of Roman Polanski’s “The Ghost Writer,” in which Wallach plays a key role. On January 19, the Miami Jewish Film Festival screened the new film “Tickling Leo,” in which Wallach is cast as the patriarch of a Hungarian Jewish family caught in the ongoing historical repercussions of the tragic Holocaust-era Kastner Train. Last October, cinema-goers admired Wallach in the anthology film “New York, I Love You” in which he is the riotously crabby husband of Cloris Leachman. TV viewers also saw Wallach’s feistily moving turn on the Showtime series “Nurse Jackie” as an ornery hospital patient.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Anne Jackson, Actors, Acting, Berlin International Film Festival, Cloris Leachman, Eli Wallach, Film, Kastner Train, Miami Jewish Film Festival, National Arts Club, Nurse Jackie, Roman Polanski, The Ghost Writer, Theater, Theater for the New City, Tickling Leo, Tobey Maguire




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