By Alan Scherstuhl
By Amy Nicholson
By Charles Taylor
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Brian Feinzimer
By CAROLINA DEL BUSTO
By AMY NICHOLSON
By Amy Nicholson
Movies of the Week:
2009 Pacific Jewish Film Festival
You call this a Jewish Film Festival? Where is the David O. Selznick? The Sidney Lumet? The Woody Allen? Well, Shlomo, there are Jews beyond Hollywood making films. Who knew? This seventh-annual event does, opening Saturday and continuing through Feb. 22 with a showcases of Jewish films made around the world. It all opens with a reception and screening of Strangers (2003, Israel), an anti-Semitism tale about an Israeli man and Palestinian woman who meet during the World Cup finals in Berlin, where their relief at finding someone from “home” blossoms into desire. That is followed by The First Basket (2008, USA), a documentary chronicling how basketball caught fire among Jewish boys in turn-of-the-20th-century New York. The Little Traitor (2007, Israel), which is based on the Amos Oz novel Panther In the Basement, explores the fallout an 11-year-old Jewish boy experiences after he befriends a British sergeant during the last days of the British occupation of Palestine. Sharon (2008, Israel/Germany) gets at how General Ariel Sharon, who was responsible for the massacres of Sabra and Shatlia, transformed into the prime minister who, in December 2003, announced the peace-seeking Disengagement Plan and ordered 21 Jewish settlements razed. In Matok Ve’Mar (Bittersweet) (2007, Israel), middle-aged, intellectual friends gathered for a dinner party in a Tel Aviv home have their fragile harmony disrupted when a fortune teller unexpectedly arrives. Un Secret (2007, France) examines the Jewish experience during France’s Nazi occupation through the eyes of a family living on the edge. Foul Gesture (2006, Israel) follows a mild-mannered man who, after he and his wife are almost killed, pursues a reckless driver but gets caught up in a group of gangsters. Fugitive Pieces (2007, Canada/Greece), based on Anne Michaels’ novel, concerns a man who deals with haunting experiences in World War II Poland through writing and finding love. It all ends with Shiva (2008, Israel/France), which uncovers family intrigue amid a large Jewish Moroccan/Israeli brood grieving over the loss of a son during the 1991 Gulf War. These sound great. But would a little Mel Brooks kill you? 2009 Pacific Jewish Film Festival at Merage Jewish Community Center, 1 Federation Way, Ste. 200, Irvine, (949) 435-3400; www.jccoc.org. Feb. 14-22. Strangers and reception, Sat., 8 p.m. $10-$20; The First Basket, Sun., 4:30 p.m. $9-$10; The Little Traitor, Sun., 7:30 p.m., $9-$10; Sharon, Mon., 7 p.m. $9-$10; Bittersweet, Thurs., Feb. 19, 7 p.m. $9-$10; Un Secret, Feb. 21, 7 p.m. $9-$10; Foul Gesture, Feb. 21, 9 p.m. $9-$10; Fugitive Pieces, Feb. 22, 5:30 p.m. $9-$10; Shiva, Feb. 22, 7:30 p.m. $9-$10.
Between the Lines
Apocalypse Now writer John Milius narrates this documentary on the impact the draft and Vietnam War had on two young surfers. This second installment of the Laguna Beach Film Society’s ’09 documentary series includes a chance to meet the director (and Laguna Beach resident) Ty Ponder as well as Ron Sizemore, the 1964 U.S. surfing champion and Vietnam vet. Festival of Arts, Forum Theater, 650 Laguna Canyon Rd., Laguna Beach, (949) 494-8971, ext. 201. Fri., 7 p.m. $15.
It starts with a detached human ear found in a field and devolves from there to include so many haunting images, scenes and performances that it’s small wonder I love David Lynch’s sick fuck-a-thon while every woman I know hates it. South Coast Village, 1561 W. Sunflower Ave., Santa Ana, (714) 557-5701; www.regencymovies.com. Wed., 7:30 p.m. $6.50.
Faith In Action film screening
Watch a film with a Unitarian minister and then dissect it—the film, not the minister. Orange Coast Unitarian Universalist Church, 1259 Victoria St., Costa Mesa, (949) 646-4652. Sat., 6 p.m. Free.
This 2000 documentary chronicles the attempt by the filmmaker’s father to return to mainland China after he was exiled to Taiwan in 1949. This second of the UC Irvine Film and Video Center’s two Taiwanese Cinema screeings (the other being Three Times, below) includes a chance to meet the director, Chu-Chen Hsiao. UC Irvine, Humanities Instructional Building, Room 100, Lucille Kuehn Auditorium, Campus & W. Peltason drs., Irvine, (949) 824-7418; www.humanities.uci.edu/fvc/. Thurs., Feb. 19, 7 p.m. $3-$5.
Mountains of Faith
The lives of two young men on the brink of manhood, set against Ethiopia’s rugged beauty and ancient traditions. Bowers Museum of Cultural Art, 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 567-3600; www.bowers.org. Wed., 1:30 p.m. Free with paid admission ($9-$12).
Nowhere In Africa
A German Jewish refugee family adjusts to farm life in 1930s Kenya in this second installment in the three-part “The Colonial Experience in Africa” series that closes March 12 with Cry, The Beloved Country. Bowers Museum of Cultural Art, 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 567-3600; www.bowers.org. Thurs., Feb. 12. Free with paid admission ($9-$12).
Quilts In Women’s Lives
Documentarian Pat Ferrero presents first-person narratives by seven renowned female quilt makers. Bowers Museum of Cultural Art, 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 567-3600; www.bowers.org. Tues., 1:30 p.m. Free with paid admission ($9-$12).
Sid and Nancy
What better way to celebrate the day before Valentine’s Day than by taking your sweetie to Mondo Celluloid’s screening of the ultimate junkie love story? Sex Pistols bass player Sid Vicious (Gary Oldman, never better, and that’s saying something) and his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen (Chloe Webb), do wind up together in the end of Alex Cox’s 1986 twisted little romance. To say Sid and Nancy had a destructive relationship would be like saying Jayne Mansfield was felled by a flesh wound. Art Theatre, 2025 E. Fourth St., Long Beach, (562) 428-5435; www.mondocelluloid.com. Fri., 11:55 p.m. $10.
Join My Voice Nation for free stuff, film info & more!