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Film

Jackie Mason: The Ultimate Jew

Borscht Belt standup comedian Jackie Mason died last month, but he metaphorically returns from the dead in Barry Avrich’s movie, Jackie Mason: The Ultimate Jew, which is being screened online by the Toronto Jewish Film Foundation. Released in 2008, the film portrays the inimitable Mason in his final one-man show on Broadway.¬†Speaking in a heavy […]

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Film

By The Grace Of Heaven

On the eve of Passover in 2020, with the coronavirus pandemic raging in Israel, the Israeli government imposed a closure on Bnei Brak. Attempting to curb its spread in this ultra-Orthodox enclave near Tel Aviv, the government had no alternative but to deploy a drastic measure. The manner in which its haredi inhabitants responded to […]

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Film

The Spy Behind Home Plate

Morris (Moe) Berg was an anomaly in the best sense of the word. Wielding brains and braun, he was an intellectual, a professional athlete and coach, and a spy. Call him a Renaissance Man, if you will. It would not be far-fetched to say he was the most unusual person ever to play Major League […]

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Film

Zeitgeist — An Eerie Israeli Movie

The German word “zeitgeist” denotes the spirit of an era and could easily apply to Nazi Germany’s genocidal project to exterminate European Jews during the Holocaust. In just six short years, from 1939 to 1945, the deranged leaders of what had been a cultured and civilized country embarked on an unprecedented campaign of ethnic cleansing […]

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Film

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit

Alfred Ker, the prominent German Jewish theater critic and essayist, was hounded out of Germany after the rise of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime. He never returned, migrating from one country to the next with his family and living out the rest of his life in Britain, his adopted homeland. Ker’s daughter, Judith Kerr, became a […]

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Film

12 Mighty Orphans

Ty Roberts’ 12 Mighty Orphans, which opens in Canada on August 6, is an uplifting account of triumph over adversity.¬†Inspired by true events, and taking place in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1938, it reaffirms the adage that a lot can be wrung from little. A football coach arrives at an orphanage and, against all odds, […]

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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 […]