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Jews in Film

The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (Giardino dei Finzi-Contini) (Italy / West Germany, 1970)

Directed by Vittorio De Sica. Cast: Lino Capolicchio, Dominique Sanda, Fabio Testi, Romolo Valli, Helmut Berger. This drama is set in Italy in 1938, when Mussolini's anti-Semitic edicts began to isolate the Jews from their communities. As the political atmosphere becomes increasingly hostile to Jewish citizens the handsome and carefree children of a cultured Jewish family, the Finzi-Continis, turn their home into a refuge for their young friends.

The Girl of Your Dreams (La Nina de tus ojos) (Spain, 1998)

Directed by Fernando Trueba. Cast: Neus Asensi, Jesus Bonilla, Penelope Cruz, Karel Dobry, Loles Leon, Gotz Otto, Antonio Resines, Jorge Sanz, Rosa Maria Sarda. In Civil War torn Spain, Germany invites a group of filmmakers to shoot two versions of the Andalusian musical drama "The girl of your dreams" in Berlin. Happy to leave the war behind them, the troupe of Spaniards starts filming in Hitler's Berlin. The hospitality upon their arrival has more to do with the youthful charms of Macarena Granada.

The Golem: How He Came Into the World (Germany, 1920, Germany)

Directed by Carl Boese and Paul Wegener. Set in medieval Prague, the rabbi gives life to the Golem who falls in love with the rabbi's daughter and brings fear to the emperor's court. He is destroyed by an innocent child. Based on the legend of the Golem, a popular figure in Jewish tradition. Restored authorized edition, 86 min.: 90 min. version: 94 min. version: Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

The Great Dictator (1940)

Directed by Charlie Chaplin. Chaplin plays the dual role of a persecuted Jewish barber as well as Adenoid Hynkel, dictator of Tomania. The barber is imprisoned, escapes, and is finally mistaken for the dictator. At that time, the barber makes an impassioned humanistic speech which amazes the dictator's followers. 126 min.

The Grey Zone (2001)

Directed by Tim Blake Nelson. Cast: David Arquette, Daniel Benzali, Steve Buscemi, David Chandler, Allan Corduner, Harvey Keitel, Natasha Lyonne, Mira Sorvino, Kamelia Grigorova. Based on real-life events this harrowing and compelling film chronicles a unit of Auschwitz's Sonderkommandos, a special squad of Jewish prisoners, who stage the only armed revolt that would ever take place at Auschwitz. But when the unit discovers a 14- year-old child who has miraculously survived the gas chambers, they risk all to save this one child. 126 min.

The Harmonists (Comedian Harmonists) (Germany / Austria, 1997)

Directed by Joseph Vilsmaier. Cast: Ben Becker, Heino Ferch, Ulrich Noethen, Max Tidof, Kai Wiesinger, Meret Becker. In this dramatization of a true story, Harry and his friends form "The Harmonists," a singing group in pre-war Germany. Changes in the nation's political tide force them to make decisions that will test their loyalty. When three of the six are disclosed as Jews, the group faces banning. 115 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database
Reviews and articles:

The Hebrew Hammer (2003)

Directed by Jonathan Kesselman. Cast: Andy Dick, Adam Goldberg, Judy Greer, Mario Van Peebles, Nora Dunn, Peter Coyote. Comedy Central presents a wildly satirical and politically incorrect comedy about a psychotic Santa who tries to destroy Chanukah by hypnotizing Jewish children with bootlegged copies of the Christmas film, "It's a Wonderful Life." Its up to semitic super stud Hebrew Hammer, together with Mohammed, head of the Kwanzaa Liberation Front, to hunt down the renegade Santa and make the holiday season safe for all. 85 min.

The Hiding Place (1975)

Directed by James F. Collier. Cast: Julie Harris, Eileen Heckart, Arthur O'Connell, Jeannette Clift. With the Nazi invasion of Holland, Corrie Ten Boom's family joins the resistance to help save persecuted Jewish families. When they are arrested and imprisoned in concentration camps themselves, they have nothing left to cling to but their faith. Based on true events. 146 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

The Holy Land (Israel, 2001)

Directed by Eitan Gorlin. Cast: Oren Rehany, Tchelet Semel, Saul Stein. Set in Jerusalem, this is the story of Mendy, a young rabbinical student who is restless to learn about the bigger world. On the unconventional advice of his teacher, Mendy visits a brothel in order to exhaust his lust and restlessness, but instead falls in love with a Russian prostitute, Sasha. Mendy plummets further when he discovers Mike's Place, a bar on the edge of society run by an American expatriate, where Muslims, Christians and Jews all mingle to unseen ends. 101 min.

The House I Live In (1945)

Directed Mervyn LeRoy. Written by Albert Maltz. Cast: Frank Sinatra. "Frank Sinatra didn't become a "respected" actor until almost a decade after this 1945 short, but The House I Live In was Sinatra?s first Oscar-winning film. The movie, written by future blacklistee Albert Maltz and set to a song composed by leftist songwriter Earl Robinson, opens with a gang of kids chasing a kid who is "different" [i.e., Jewish].

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