Categories
Arts

The Comedian

Robert De Niro is in great form in The Comedian, a black comedy due to open in Canada on February 3. Here he plays Jackie Burke, an aging, foul-mouthed Jewish shock comedian whose best days are far behind him. Burke, whose real name is Jacob (Yaacov) Berkowitz, was once the beloved star of a popular … Read More

Categories
Arts

Foiling Nazi Germany’s Plan To Build An A-Bomb

About a month before World War II broke out, the eminent scientist Albert Einstein sent U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt a letter imploring him to develop an atomic weapon before Nazi Germany did. Roosevelt formed a committee to study Einstein’s proposal, and within a few years, the Manhattan Project was established and the United States … Read More

Categories
Arts

Selling Hitler

Nicholas O’Shaughnessy, in his magisterial work, Selling Hitler (Oxford University Press), asks an oft-posed question: “How was it possible for a nation as sophisticated as Germany to regress in the way that it did, for Hitler and the Nazis to enlist an entire people, willingly or otherwise, into a crusade of extermination that would kill … Read More

Categories
Arts

Toni Erdmann — A Wild Comedy

Expect the unexpected in Maren Ade’s wild comedy, Toni Erdmann, which opens in Canadian theaters on January 27. Unfolding in German, English and Romanian, it’s a somber and uproarious film. Winfried (Peter Simonischek), a semi-retired piano teacher in Germany, sets off a chain of zany events after he visits his daughter, Ines (Sandra Hüller), a … Read More

Categories
Arts

The Spiritual Journey of Lawren Harris

The distinguished Canadian painter Lawren Harris (1885-1970) was of the view that the purpose of art is to bring people to a state of ecstasy. I doubt whether he accomplished this lofty objective, but I’m certain his paintings, particularly his stark landscapes, concentrated minds and elicited admiration. This occurred to me as I watched Where … Read More

Categories
Arts

Gentleman’s Agreement Revisited

Reviewing Gentleman’s Agreement in the November 12, 1947 edition of The New York Times, movie critic Bosley Crowther wrote: “To millions of people throughout the country, it should bring an ugly and disturbing issue to light.” Crowther was referring to the timeless phenomenon of antisemitism, which is deeply rooted in Christian and Muslim societies. Released … Read More

Categories
Arts

Battling Islamic State In Syria

Tens of thousands of foreign volunteers have flocked to the ranks of Islamic State, the jihadist organization that has deeply entrenched itself in Iraq and Syria and carried out terrorist attacks around the world. Far fewer foreigners, however, have joined Kurdish forces trying to dislodge IS from its Syrian and Iraqi strongholds. In Frontline Fighting: … Read More

Categories
Arts

The Failed Lavi Fighter Jet Program

Does anyone still remember the Lavi? In case you’ve forgotten,  the Lavi was a new-generation, high-performance made-in-Israel fighter aircraft that would have been the workhorse of the Israeli Air Force had it been approved for mass production in the 1980s. “It began as a project to provide Israel with an attack jet for the twenty-first … Read More

Categories
Arts

Past Life: An Israeli Film On The Holocaust

Avi Nesher’s Past Life summons up the terrors of the Holocaust. Scheduled to be presented by the Toronto Jewish Film Foundation’s Chai Tea series on January 15 at the Cineplex Cinemas Empress Walk theater at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m, it’s an Israeli-Polish production which shifts between West Germany, Israel and Poland in 1977. Nesher, the … Read More

Categories
Arts

Mostly Sunny

Karenjit Kaur Vohra, better known as Sunny Leone to her legion of fans, is a most unusual person. Though raised in a conservative Sikh home, she broke away from its strict conventions and became, horror of horrors, a porn star with 54 adult movies to her credit, you’ve mnost probably seen some of them on … Read More