Film

Surfing rabbi tells EDL demo 'We shall prevail'

By Jessica Elgot and Jennifer Lipman, October 25, 2010

Around 300 members of the far right organisation the English Defence League (EDL) were joined by a US Rabbi associated with the Tea Party at a demonstration “to oppose Islamic fascism”.

Speaking outside the Israeli embassy in London, Rabbi Nachum Shifren stressed he was not here to represent the Tea Party but came as someone “who loves freedom”.

Rabbi Shifren, who is standing for the California state senate, said: “To all my Jewish brothers who have called me a Nazi…I say to them they don’t have the guts to stand up here and take care of business."

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Where you can catch the Chasidic drug mules

By Jennifer Lipman, October 22, 2010

What do drug-smuggling Chasids, Joan Rivers and a Yiddish version of Shakespeare have in common? They are all coming to London next month as part of the UK Jewish Film Festival.

Now in its 14th year, the 2010 UKJFF has a packed programme, including a Chinese cartoon about Shanghai’s Jewish refugees during the Holocaust and the comic tale of an strictly Orthodox baseball team.

Of the 66 films being screened, nearly 50 are premieres, with the opening-night audience treated to an exclusive preview of The Debt, a thriller starring Helen Mirren as a former Mossad agent.

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Review: Easy A

By Jonathan Foreman, October 22, 2010

This intelligent, frequently hilarious new comedy has been likened to Clueless, the clever 1995 film that set Jane Austen's Emma in a Beverly Hills high school. This is mainly because Easy A, directed by Will Gluck, is almost a California teenage update of Nathanial Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, the classic 19th-century story about a woman who becomes a pariah in her Puritan community after giving birth to a child in an adulterous affair and refusing to name the father.

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Mike Leigh cancels Israel visit over 'conscience'

By Jennifer Lipman, October 18, 2010

Mike Leigh has cancelled a trip to Israel in protest at the controversial loyalty oath bill.

The British Jewish film director said he had been stupid and naïve to agree to teach a master class at Jerusalem’s Sam Spiegel Film and Television School and that he had no choice but to let his audience down.

He said: “I cannot come, I do not want to come, and I am not coming.”

Mr Leigh was due to visit in November and receive an honorary fellowship award from the school, as well as speak in Haifa and Tel Aviv and to Palestinian filmmakers in the West Bank.

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The Social Network: How Jewish is Facebook?

By Jennifer Lipman, October 14, 2010

Early on in the film, The Social Network, Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg goes to a party organised by Harvard's Jewish fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Pi. It is a Caribbean-themed bash, complete with half-hearted tropical decorations and students mingling with colourful cups of punch in their hands. One or two make a desultory effort to dance.

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He was our Bernie, and he liked it hot

By Michael Freedland, October 7, 2010

Tony Curtis was more than an idol, if Jews were allowed to have such things. He was that from his hair to his shiny pointed shoes. And then some.

Jews loved him because in an age when it was fashionable for actors to cover up their Jewish heritage along with their original names, Curtis did none of that. He helped Jewish causes, he gave money to communities wracked with problems when the red flags came down in Eastern Europe - particularly those in Hungary where his parents were born - but above all, everyone knew he was really Bernie Schwartz from the Bronx.

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Director's Holocaust revenge film celebrated

September 29, 2010

A British Jewish film director has been honoured at the Boston Film Festival with its Visionary Filmmaker Award, presented last weekend.

Joshua Newton's film, Iron Cross, was the last film made by Jaws actor Roy Scheider - he died towards the end of filming.

Mr Newton, whose first full-length feature this is, directed, wrote and produced the thriller, in which Scheider stars as Joseph, a retired New York police officer and Holocaust survivor, who travels to Nuremberg following the death of his wife to reconcile with his son Ronnie (Scott Cohen).

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Aronofsky, Leigh shortlisted for BFI film award

By Jennifer Lipman, September 29, 2010

Two Jewish directors have been nominated for the Best Film award at this year’s London Film Festival.

Darren Aronofsky has made the shortlist for the thriller Black Swan, which stars the Jerusalem-born actress Natalie Portman as a ballerina consumed by jealousy of her co-star.

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Review: Takers

By Jonathan Foreman, September 28, 2010

The fine British actor Idris Elba has become an international star thanks to his performance as a gangster in the American TV series, The Wire. In Takers, he gets to use his real accent as Gordon, the leader of a team of absurdly up-market, high tech bank robbers - though it is typical of this fast-moving heist flick that the presence in LA of an English professional thief remains unexplained.

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Rachel Weisz to star in Peter Morgan drama

By Jennifer Lipman, September 22, 2010

Rachel Weisz is to star in a new “psychosexual drama” written by Jewish director Peter Morgan.

The London-born actress, who recently appeared in The Lovely Bones, will play the lead in the upcoming film 360.

The film will be a loose adaptation of Arthur Schnitzler’s play Reigen and will reunite her with Fernando Meirelles, who directed her in the thriller The Constant Gardener.

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