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Film

Midas Man

He discovered them in 1961 in The Cavern, a dingy nightclub in the British port of Liverpool. The four scruffy young men he heard singing that night impressed him, and under his tutelage, they achieved astonishing success. The Beatles, arguably the most successful band in musical history, rose to stardom thanks in no small part […]

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Film

Radio Propaganda

The Voice of Israel, or Kol Israel, broadcast special radio programs to the Arab world from the late 1940s onward. Mostly hosted by Arabic-speaking Iraqi Jews superbly acquainted with Arab culture, they were quite popular, judging by the stream of appreciative letters from Arab listeners that landed in an Israeli postal box in Geneva, Switzerland, […]

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Film

Arugam Bay

Marco Carmel’s bitter-sweet movie, Arugam Bay, is set in an idyllic corner of Sri Lanka to which surfers gravitate. It’s where three Israelis go on vacation to chill out and reminisce about an old friend who has passed. It will be screened on June 1 at the Toronto Jewish Film Festival, which runs from May […]

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Film

999: The Forgotten Girls

The first group of Jews to be transported to the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp in Poland consisted of 999 women from Slovakia. Their gruesome story unfolds in Heather Dune Macadam’s empathetic documentary, 999: The Forgotten Girls, which is scheduled to be screened at the Toronto Jewish Film Festival on May 31. Slovakia, a province of Czechoslovakia, […]

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Film

Background To Danger

Foreign intrigue suffuses Background To Danger, a 1943 Warner Bros. Pictures movie directed by Raoul Walsh. Recently screened on the Turner Classic Movies channel, this taut espionage thriller unfolds primarily in Turkey but also in Syria and Nazi Germany at the height of World War II. Turkey, one of several neutral countries that stayed out […]

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Film

Food, Inc. 2

Regardless of whether you’re a gourmet or a gourmand, Food, Inc. 2 may very well interest you. This hard-hitting documentary, a sequel directed by Robert Kenner and Melissa Robledo and scheduled to open in theaters in Canada on April 19, examines the food industry in all its perfect and imperfect permutations. As they point out, […]

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Film

Israeli Arabs And Israel

How loyal are Israeli Arabs to Israel? It’s a compelling question that has yet to be settled conclusively because this is a devilishly complicated issue. Since the Muslim and Christian Arab citizens of Israel are essentially Palestinians, the descendants of the 160,000 Palestinian Arabs who remained in the country after Israel’s War of Independence in […]

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Film

The Boy In The Woods

Strength of character, resilience and courage were often the hallmarks of Holocaust survivors. These were the vital qualities that enabled them to overcome daunting disadvantages and challenges. Oziac Fromm was one such survivor. Left to fend for himself at the tender age of twelve, following the murder of his parents and sister, he survived for […]

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Film

This Land Is Mine

Jean Renoir’s rousing anti-Nazi drama, This Land Is Mine, was a boilerplate propaganda film intended to whip up patriotic fervor and strengthen U.S. public support for the ongoing war against Germany. During its production, the German army was still in conquest mode. But when the picture was released in May 1943, the tide had turned, […]

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Film

The Last Metro Revisited

Francois Truffaut’s feature film, The Last Metro, was released in 1980, eleven years after Marcel Ophuls’ past-breaking documentary, The Sorrow and the Pity, opened in theaters in France. In his stunning movie, Ophuls exposed the crimes of the collaborationist Vichy regime, which allied itself with Nazi Germany and betrayed French Jews in the name of […]