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Film

The Adventures Of Saul Bellow

Saul Bellow was in the privileged and enviable position of knowing he was the most acclaimed American novelist of his generation. The winner of the 1976 Nobel Prize for literature, he was the author of critically praised novels that may yet stand the test of time: Seize the Day, Herzog, Mr. Sammler’s Planet, Ravelstein and […]

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Film

The Sign Painter

Ansis is a simple sign painter in a small town in Latvia, a Baltic republic that won its independence after World War I, but lost it after being occupied by the Soviet Union and Germany within the space of a few years in the early 1940s. In Viesturs Kairish’s endearing movie, The Sign Painter, which […]

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Film

The Un-Word

Antisemitism may have been temporarily discredited in post-Holocaust Germany, but in Leo Khasin’s dark and cutting comedy, The Un-Word, it continues to seethe and spread like a deadly virus that no vaccination, however potent, can eradicate. Due to be screened online by the Toronto Jewish Film Festival, which runs from June 3-13, it unfolds in a […]

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Film

Kiss Me Kosher

Shirel Peleg’s enjoyable and well-crafted romantic comedy, Kiss Me Kosher, surveys the wonders and agonies of the oldest and most durable human passion, love, through the prism of German-Jewish relations and Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians. It will be presented online by the annual Toronto Jewish Film Festival, which runs from June 3-13. A co-Israeli-German production […]

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Film

After Mr. Sam

When I was a teenager, I would sometimes join my mother on her weekly shopping trips to Steinberg, her favorite supermarket in Montreal. She liked it because it was big, bright and bulging with an amazing variety of reasonably priced food and household goods. If shoppers accumulated a sufficient number of Steinberg pink coupons, which […]

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Film

Poet: Irving Layton Observed

Prodigious and prolific, Irving Layton was one of Canada’s most accomplished poets when Donald Winkler of the National Film Board of Canada was assigned to direct a documentary about him. Fifty two minutes in length and released in 1986, Poet: Irving Layton Observed will be streamed online by the NFB in May during Canadian Jewish Heritage […]

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Film

Mordecai Richler: The Writer And His Roots

Nineteen years before Mordecai Richler’s death in 2001, the National Film Board of Canada made a short documentary about this prominent Canadian novelist, journalist and screenwriter. Mordecai Richler: The Writer and His Roots, directed by Claire Helman, was released in 1983. This 21-minute film can be accessed online during May, in honor of Canadian Jewish […]

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Film

Ladies And Gentlemen … Mr. Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen, the acclaimed Canadian poet and novelist, was only 30 when Donald Brittain and Don Owen of the National Film Board of Canada decided he was worthy of a biopic. Ladies and Gentlemen …. Mr. Leonard Cohen was released in 1965, and in honor of Canadian Jewish Heritage Month, this spare and affecting 44-minute black-and-white […]

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Film

The Return

Sixty four thousand women and their children are stranded in a bleak refugee camp in an area of northeastern Syria controlled by Kurdish militias. The wives of Islamic State fighters who were either killed in battle or imprisoned after being captured, they yearn to go back to their homes, but their governments have banned them […]

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Film

Misha And The Wolves

Misha Defonseca’s Holocaust survival story is incredible, beyond belief. At the age of seven, in Nazi-occupied Belgium, she trudged through a forest and kept herself alive by joining a pack of wolves that protected and provided her with scraps of food. In 1997, Defonseca’s memoirs, Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust Years, was published and […]