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Film

Cup Final

A classic of the Israeli cinema, Eran Riklis’ Cup Final is still as fresh and relevant as it was in 1991, the year of its release to critical acclaim. Currently being presented online by the Toronto Jewish Film Foundation, Cup Final is a reference to the much anticipated World Cup match that would determine the […]

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Film

The Debt

The Debt, a thriller directed by John Madden, seamlessly blends two interlocking themes: the Holocaust and vengeance, as exacted by Israel’s external intelligence agency, the Mossad. Now available on Netflix, it flits between the mid-1960s and the late 1990s and is set in Israel, East Berlin and Kiev. The plot is familiar, reminiscent of Israel’s […]

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Film

The Human Factor

Dror Moreh’s intensely engaging documentary, The Human Factor, bores into the decade-long period from 1990 until 2000, when the possibility of a peace agreement between Israel and its Arab neighbors seemed attainable. In his 108 minute film, which will be available on VOD platforms later this year, he focuses on Israel’s negotiations with the Palestinians […]

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Film

Summer of ’85

Francois Ozon’s languorous coming-of-age French movie, Summer of ’85, has a very familiar ring to it. In every respect, it resembles Call Me By Your Name, released a few years ago. If I were to go one step further, I would say it could be classified as a credible knockoff of Call Me By Your […]

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Film

Shelter: Building Toronto After The War

With immigrants from all corners of the world pouring into Canada in the decades after World War II, Toronto was in desperate need of new residential housing. The construction industry met the challenge, erecting some 500,000 rental apartment units from 1952 to 1975. Virtually all of them were built by Jewish builders, a few of […]

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Film

The Red Scarf

Peter Mostovoy’s bitter-sweet autobiographical movie, The Red Scarf, exposes the hypocritical pretensions of a society that celebrated egalitarianism and brotherhood but that denied equal opportunities to one of its national minorities. It will be screened online by the Toronto Jewish Film Festival, which runs from June 3-13. Mostovoy, a cinematographer and director, is a distinguished […]

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Film

Muranow — A Lost Civilization

Approximately 200,000 Jews lived in Warsaw’s Muranow district, the hub of Jewish life in Poland, before World War II. Forming the core of the Nazi ghetto after 1940, it served as a conduit from which Jews were deported to the Treblinka extermination camp as the Holocaust unfolded. During the doomed but heroic 1943 uprising, which […]

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Film

Private Death

Marianna Barr’s intriguing Israeli documentary, Private Death, fleshes out a forbidden romance set against the backdrop of rising tensions between Jews and Arabs in 1930s Palestine. It will be screened online at the Toronto Jewish Film Festival, which runs from June 3-13. Haya Schreiber, a sixth-generation Jaffa-born Jew from an ultra-Orthodox family, and Tewfik Hanania, […]

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Film

Modigliani And His Secrets

The Jewish Italian painter and sculptor Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920) is the subject of Jacques Loeuille’s probing documentary, Modigliani And His Secrets. It will be screened online by the Toronto Jewish Film Festival, which starts on June 3 and ends on June 13. Before watching it, I wondered what secrets could possibly emerge. There are basically […]

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Film

Lebanon — Borders Of Blood

For the past five decades, Lebanon, once the jewel of the Middle East, has lost its luster as an oasis of stability, having been engulfed by strife, chaos and bloodshed. In his incisive documentary, Lebanon — Borders of Blood, Duki Dror compares this small nation to an active volcano that explodes periodically, destabilizing everything in […]