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Film

The Ruins of Lifta

The village of Lifta spreads out on the slopes of a steep hill adjacent to the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway, which leads directly into the western half of Israel’s capital city. It’s a unique place — the only Palestinian locality abandoned by its residents during the first Arab-Israeli war that was not destroyed by Israel or repopulated […]

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Film

Ramen Nation

Another name for Japan, in case you’re interested, is Ramen Nation. This refers to the craving Japanese people have for ramen, an iconic soup made of broth, garnished with noodles and topped with ingredients such as vegetables, seaweed, bamboo shoots, dried fish, a hard-boiled egg, chicken or pork. Ramen was supposedly brought to Japan by […]

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Film

Keep Quiet

Csanad Szegedi was an antisemite before becoming a Jew. A leader of Hungary’s extreme right-wing Jobbik Party, and the founder of the fascist-style Hungarian Guard militia, he was one of the rising stars of the political scene in Hungary. And then it all came crashing down after he was “outed” as a Jew, a sickening […]

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Film

Toronto Jewish Film Festival (3)

This year’s edition of the Toronto Jewish Film Festival, rebranded as the Toronto Jewish Film Foundation, runs from May 4-14. As usual, the lineup is impressive. The films reviewed here deal with a scandal in the powerful Greek Orthodox Church in Israel, the Austrian novelist and refugee from Nazism, Stefan Zweig, and a Polish veteran […]

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Film

Toronto Jewish Film Festival (2)

This year’s Toronto Jewish Festival, rebranded as the Toronto Jewish Film Foundation, runs from May 4-14. The five films reviewed here are eclectic. They’re about a Polish village which once had a substantial Jewish population, an Israeli couple whose marriage grows more stale by the year, an ultra-Orthodox woman who runs for a seat in […]

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Film

Toronto Jewish Film Festival (1)

Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the Toronto Jewish Film Festival runs from May 4 to 14. To mark this milestone, the festival is rebranding itself as the Toronto Jewish Film Foundation. This year’s edition offers a rich and eclectic selection of movies — feature films, documentaries and shorts — from around the world which will […]

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Film

Frantz: Spare And Affecting

Francois Ozon’s romantic drama, Frantz, moves between national borders seamlessly. Languidly unfolding in Germany and France in 1919, a year after the end of World War I, it’s based on Ernst Lubitsch’s 1932 movie, Broken Lullaby. Scheduled to open in Canadian theatres on April 7, Ozon’s spare and affecting film is at once sweet and bitter. […]

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Film

Tickling Giants

Bassem Youssef was the Jon Stewart of Egypt, a whip smart comedian who skewered authority and promoted the tenets of democracy in a country accustomed to authoritarian rule by despots. From 2011 to 2013, he hosted The Show, closely modelled after Stewart’s The Daily Show. A former heart surgeon, he was immensely successful, his nightly […]

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Film

Mr. Gaga Profiles Israeli Dancer

Tomer Heymann’s Mr. Gaga, a fast-moving and absorbing documentary about one of the world’s finest choreographers and dancers, takes flight from almost the moment it begins. As the camera pans on the protagonist, Ohad Naharin, he coaches a dancer in his studio. “Really beautiful,” he says before instructing her to loosen up and “let go.” A man […]

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Film

Night Will Fall

In the spring of 1945, as World War II was winding down, the British government commissioned a documentary about the horrors of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany. The supervising director would be the Hollywood auteur Alfred Hitchcock. The screenwriter would be Richard Crossman, who would go on to become a British cabinet minister. The […]