The Arty Semite

Out and About: Bollywood in Israel; Iraq's Jewish Book Trove

By Ezra Glinter

Paolo Garretto
  • Bollywood filmmakers are visiting Israel to make connections and scout locations during the Jerusalem International Film Festival.

  • Prolific and influential graphic designer and Vanity Fair caricaturist Paolo Garretto was once a member of Mussolini’s bodyguards.

  • A collection of Jewish Iraqi books discovered in a basement used by Saddam Hussein’s secret police and recovered during the 2003 invasion of Iraq is now the subject of dispute between the Iraqi and American governments.

  • Is Richard Feynman a genuine scientific superstar?

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Admiring Blum: A Great French Jewish Statesman Celebrated on Film

By Benjamin Ivry

Click for larger view

For visitors to the New York Jewish Film Festival, a must-see on January 18-20 is a new hour-length documentary, “Leon Blum: For All Mankind” about the French socialist politician.

Written by Blum’s grandson Antoine Malamoud and directed by University of Alabama Professor Jean Bodon, the film offers a mere sketch of an eventful life, and its English narration is geared to a public largely ignorant of Blum’s remarkable trajectory, as relatively little about him has been translated from the French.

Serge Berstein’s astute 2006 biography “Léon Blum” from Fayard Publishers recounts how Blum became a militant Socialist after the Dreyfus Affair, and despite antisemitic violence, carefully described in “Anti-Jewish France in 1936: the Attack on Léon Blum in the Legislature” (Éditions des Équateurs, 2006) he was elected Prime Minister as leader of the left-wing Popular Front. After the German invasion, Blum was sent to Buchenwald, from which camp he wrote touching letters home, collected in 2003 as “Letters from Buchenwald.”

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