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Representations of Jews and Jewish Life in Film

Mother Night (1996)

Directed by Keith Gordon. Cast: Nick Nolte, Sheryl Lee, Alan Arkin, Kirsten Dunst, John Goodman, Henry Gibson. An American playwright living in Germany is persuaded to become an Allied spy within the Nazi Party. He becomes a notorious spokesman for the Nazi's anti-American and anti-semitic agenda, gaining celebrity in Germany and infamy in the States. Not even his wife knows of his clandestine spying, but as the Reich crumbles, so does his life. Escaping capture and living back in the U.S., he struggles with his past as he is confronted by Nazi haters and sympathizers.

Mr. Skeffington (1944)

Directed by Vincent Sherman. Cast: Bette Davis, Claude Rains, Walter Abel, Richard Waring, George Coulouris, Marjorie Riordan. Dealing openly with anti-Semitism and Nazi atrocities, the story spans World War I, Prohibition and the preliminary volley of World War II. Fanny thrives on the adulation of countless suiters before and after she marries Job Skeffington. Ravaged by age and illness, Fanny clings to Job's promise that "a woman is beautiful only when she is loved." 144 min.

Nowhere in Africa (Nirgendwo in Afrika) (Germany, 2001)

Directed by Caroline Link. Cast: Juliane Kohler, Merab Ninidze, Matthias Habich, Sidede Onyulo, Lea Kurka, Karoline Eckertz. Critically acclaimed, this film is based on the true life story of a Jewish family who fled the Nazi regime in 1938 and learned to cope with their new life, and each other, on a remote farm in Kenya. 142 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Old Isaac, the Pawnbroker (1908)

Directed by Wallace McCutcheon; script: D. W. Griffith. This is the story of a little girl living in an urban slum who tries to sell her doll to get money for her sick and starving mother. Isaac, the pawnbroker, takes pity on the girl, goes to her apartment, stops the men who are trying to evict the sick woman, pays the rent, provides food and medical care, and even gives the girl a new doll. 14 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Oliver Twist.

Featuring that old semitic boogyman, Fagin. Oliver Twist(1922)Directed by Frank Lloyd. Silent. Lonn Chaney as Fagen. ; Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database Oliver Twist(1933)Directed by William J. Cowen. Irving Pichel as Fagen.

Once Upon a Time in America (Italy / USA, 1983)

Director, Sergio Leone. Cast: Robert De Niro, James Woods, Elizabeth McGovern, Joe Pesci, Burt Young, Tuesday Weld, Treat Williams. "Epic, episodic, tale of the lives of a small group of New York City Jewish gangsters spanning over 40 years.

Only Human (Seres queridos) (Spain / Argentina / Portugal / UK, 2004)

Directors, Teresa de Pelegri & Dominic Harari. Cast: Norma Aleandro, Guillermo Toledo, Maria Botto, Marian Aguilera, Fernando Ramallo. When Leni comes home to introduce her fiance Rafi to her idiosyncratic Jewish family, everything goes smoothly until the lovers belatedly reveal that Rafi is Palestinian. 86 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Picado fino (Fine Powder (Argentina, 1996)

Director, Esteban Sapir. Cast: Facundo Luengo, Belen Blanco, Marcela Guerty, Miguel Angel Sola. Tomas Caminos, an 18 year old Jewish boy, lives with his family in the industrial neighborhood of Villa Lynch. His girl friend, Ana Sideral, who plays the violin, is pregnant with Tomas's child. When a fickle young woman by the name of Alma Martinez shows up and Tomas is smitten; Ana is forgotten. Tomas's dreams require money and Alma introduces him to Sr. Merkin, a drug trafficker, who offers a chance to make a great deal of money in a short amount of time.

Prince of Egypt (Dreamworks, 1998)

Directed by Brenda Chapman, Steve Hickner, Simon Wells. Voices: Val Kilmer, Ralph Fiennes, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sandra Bullock, Jeff Goldblum, Danny Glover, Patrick Stewart. A musical animated adaptation of the story of Moses. Two brothers, one born of royal blood, one an orphan with a secret past grow up the best of friends. But the truth will ultimately set them apart, as one becomes the ruler of a powerful empire, while the other is revealed as the chosen leader of the Jewish people, destined to free them from bondage. 99 min.

Prudence (aka Jewish Prudence) (1927)

Directed by Leo McCarey. Cast: Max Davidson, Johnny Fox, Martha Sleeper, Jesse De Vorska, Gaston Glass (Prudence) Max is a father saddled with three grown children who will never amount to anything. His daughter is bone-idle. Max's older son is an incompetent schlemiehl whom Max pressures into taking a job as a lorry driver. The younger son is an idiot who wants to be a professional Charleston dancer. A handsome young lawyer, newly admitted to the bar, wants to marry Max's daughter, but Max refuses to consent until lawyer Gaston wins his first court case.

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