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Representations of Jews and Jewish Life in Film

Komissar(Soviet Union, 1967)

Director, Aleksandr Askoldov. Cast: Nonna Mordyukova, Rolan Bykov, Raisa Nedashkovskaya, Lyudmila Volynskaya, Vasili Shukshin. A dedicated soldier of the newly-formed Soviet army becomes pregnant has to make a choice between becoming a mother and the needs of the Revolution. Set against the Russian Civil War, Klavdia Vavilova has a reputation in her unit as a selfless fighter, but her unexpected situation not only forces her to temporarily leave her comrades, her commanders have placed her in the household of a family of Ukrainian Jews.

Levi and Cohen, the Irish Comedians(Biograph, 1903)

Clips from this early short feature are included in What Do Those Old Films Mean? ; Pt. 2

Liberty Heights (1999)

Directed by Barry Levinson. Cast: Adrien Brody, Bebe Neuwirth, Joe Mantegna. The year is 1954, a season of dramatic social flux that Levinson explores through the eyes of a Jewish family, the Kurtzmans in this warmly funny, semi-autobiographical tale. Friendship, romance, rock 'n' roll, courage, racism, cadilacs, halloween (should a nice Jewish boy dress up as Hitler?): the times are indeed changing. The Kurtzmans - and America - will never be the same.

Little Jerusalem (La Petite Jerusalem) (France, 2005)

Directed by Karin Albou. Cast: Fanny Valette, Elsa Zylberstein, Bruno Todeschini, Hedi Tillette de Clermont-Tonnerre, Sonia Tahar, Michael Cohen, Aurore Clement. In a Paris suburb nicknamed Little Jerusalem, a family of Sephardic Orthodox immigrants shares a low-income apartment. Beautiful, teenaged Laura distances herself from her family's religion and her own burgeoning desire by devoting every waking moment to intellectual discipline and secular philosophy.

Lost Embrace (El abrazo partido) (Argentina / France / Italy / Spain, 2004)

Directed by Daniel Burman. Cast: Daniel Hendler, Adriana Aizenberg, Jorge D'Elia, Sergio Boris, Diego Korol, Atilio Pozzobon, Silvina Bosco, Isaac Fajn, Norman Erlich, Rosita Londner. Ariel is a young man who lives in a Jewish working-class section of Buenos Aires. Since his father went missing in the war, his mother Sonia and brother Joseph work in the shopping and business district. With no interest in school or work, Ariel just ends up hanging out. He finally gets motivated by the idea of moving to Poland, so asks his grandmother, an ex-girlfriend, and Rabbi Benderson for help. 96 min.

Luna Park (France / Russia, 1991)

Director, Pavel Lounguine. Cast: Oleg Borisov, Andrei Goutine, Natalie Egorova. Andrei is the leader of a gang of right-wing skinheads in post-Communist Russia who are determined to "clean up" Russia by beating up Jews, foreigners, and anyone else they disapprove of. When, to his shock, the anti-Semitic Andrei learns that his father is actually a celebrated Jewish composer, he sets off on a frantic search through Moscow to find him. 105 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Manon (France, 1949)

Directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot. Cast: Serge Reggiani, Michel Auclair, Cecile Aubry, Gabrille Dorziat. In this adaptation of Abbe Prevost's novel 'Manon Lescaut' (updated to post-World War II France), a former French Resistance activist rescues Manon from villagers who want to lynch her for collaborating with the Nazis. She becomes involved in the black market, passes from man to man, and eventually ends up being shot by Arabs in the Sarah desert. The story involves the complex background of post-war France and the illegal immigration of Jews into Palestine.

Marjorie Morningstar (1958)

Directed by Irving Rapper. Cast Gene Kelly, Natalie Wood, Claire Trevor, Everett Sloane, Marty Milner, Carolyn Jones, George Tobias, Martin Balsam, Jesse White, Edward Byrnes, Paul Picerni, Alan Reed, Ruta Lee, Ed Wynn. "While working as a counselor at a summer camp, college-student Marjorie Morgenstern falls for 32-year-old Noel Airman, a would-be dramatist working at a nearby summer theater.

Mel Gibson's Passion: an Interview with Mel Gibson

"In this special edition of "Primetime", ABC News' Diane Sawyer interviews filmmaker Mel Gibson about his highly controversial movie, "The Passion of the Christ." Gibson discusses his own religious beliefs with Sawyer and explains how his faith helped him overcome struggles with addiction and other personal problems at a spiritual low point in his life. He responds to charges that the movie's portrayal of the Jewish role in the death of Christ will encourage anti-Semitism.

Mendy (Mendeleh) (2003)

Directed by Adam Vardy. Cast: Margaret Ivan Sandomire, Gabriela Dias, Spencer Chandler. The story of a young Brooklyn Hasid, a devout member of an ultra-orthodox Jewish sect, as he struggles to adapt and find his place in modern secular society. Special features: Director commentary; theatrical trailer; interview with co-writer, Heshey Schnitzler; 2 music videos by The Say Machinery. 90 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database