Thursday, November 5, 2009

New DVDs in the JTS Library

In this season of film festivals, enjoy your own, personal Jewish and Israeli film festival by viewing the following newly arrived DVD’s in the JTS Library Collection. All DVDs are located in the Asher Audio-Visual Library and circulate for one week. They can also be viewed on our in-house DVD players.

Blessed is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh (2008)-Directed by Roberta Grossman. In English, Hebrew and Hungarian with subtitles in English. The first documentary feature about Hannah Senesh, Blessed Is the Match tells the life story of the Hungarian-born poet and Holocaust heroine, who was only 22 when she parachuted into Nazi-occupied Europe in 1944 as part of a rescue mission to save the Jews of Hungary, the only outside rescue mission for Jews during the Holocaust. Hannah parachuted behind enemy lines, was captured, tortured and ultimately executed by the Nazis. Dramatizations, interviews, photographs, newsreel footage, letters, and diary entries are used to illuminate Senesh's early years, her immigration to Palestine and her involvement in the perilous rescue mission.With unprecedented access to the Senesh family archive, this powerful story unfolds through the writings and photographs of Hannah and her mother, Catherine Senesh. (DVD 153)

Defiance (2008)-Directed by Edward Zwick and starring Daniel Craig and Liev Schreiber. The deep forests of Poland and Belorussia are the domain of the occupying Germans during World War II. Four Jewish brothers, the Bielskis, go into these forests after the murder of their parents by local authorities working with the German invaders. They undertake the impossible task of foraging for food, weapons and survival, not just for themselves but for a large mass of Jews fleeing from the German war machine. The brothers, living with the fear of discovery, must contend with neighboring Soviet partisans and deciding whom to trust. They take on the responsibility of guardians and motivate hundreds of women, men, children and elderly to join their fight against the Nazi regime while hiding in makeshift homes in the dark, cold, unforgiving forest. At the same time, the brothers turn a band of war defectors into powerful freedom fighters. At the war’s end, 1200 members of the Bielski group survived. Their children and grandchildren number in the tens of thousands. Based on the book “Defiance: The Bielski Partisans” by Nechama Tec. (DVD 150)

Hatunah Me’uheret/Late Marriage (2001)-Written and directed by Dover Kasashvili and starring Lior Ashkenazi and Ronit Elkabetz. In Georgian and Hebrew with English subtitles. Zaza is a 31-year-old bachelor Georgian/Israeli Ph.D. student at Tel Aviv University whose family is trying to arrange a marriage for him. Unknown to them, he is secretly dating a 34-year-old divorcée, Judith, who has a 6-year-old daughter. Zaza must choose between his family traditions or his love in this comedy/melodrama. (DVD 149)

Live and Become (2008)-Written and directed by Radu Mihaileanu and starring Moshe Agazai, Mosche Abebe, Sirak M. Sabahat, Yael Abecassis and Roschdy Zem. In French, Hebrew and Amharic with English subtitles. The story begins in 1985 when, in a wrenching opening scene set in a squalid refugee camp in the Sudan, a mother forces her weeping 9 year old son to leave her side and join the transport of Ethiopian Jews to Israel in the secret Israeli airlift code-named Operation Moses. The boy, too young to understand that his mother is probably saving his life, is substituted for Solomon, the dead son of a Falasha woman, who agrees to take him. Under the provisions of Israel’s Law of Return, those Ethiopian refugees with Jewish parents and grandparents could settle in Israel and become citizens; thousands emigrated. The enigmatic final words of the boy’s mother, “Live and become,” resonate through the rest of the film. Based on real events. (DVD 145)

Waltz with Bashir (2008)-Written and directed by Ari Folman. In Hebrew with English subtitles. An animated film about a real person and real events. After not being able to recall the time he spent on an Israeli Army mission during the Lebanon War, Ari attempts to unravel the mystery by traveling around the world to interview old friends and comrades. As the pieces of the puzzle begin to come together, his memory begins to return in illustrations that are surreal. At the end of the animated film, a very short part of the film shows real people. The film includes disturbing images of atrocities and violence as well as brief nudity and a scene of graphic sexual content. Winner of the Israeli Film Academy’s award for the best film of 2008, and the USA’s Golden Globe for best foreign language film of 2008. (DVD 151)

Watermarks (2004)-Written and directed by Yaron Zilberman. In English, Hebrew and German with subtitles in English. The story of the champion women swimmers of the legendary Jewish sports club, Hakoah Vienna. Hakoah was founded in 1909 in response to the notorious Aryan Paragraph, which forbade Austrian sports clubs from accepting Jewish athletes. Its founders were eager to popularize sport among a community renowned for such great minds as Freud, Mahler and Zweig, but traditionally alien to physical recreation. Hakoah rapidly grew into one of Europe's biggest athletic clubs, while achieving astonishing success in many diverse sports. In the 1930s Hakoah's best-known triumphs came from its women swimmers, who dominated national competitions in Austria. After the Anschluss, in 1938, the Nazis shut down the club, but the swimmers all managed to flee the country before the war broke out, thanks to an escape operation initiated by Hakoah's functionaries. Sixty-five years later, director Yaron Zilberman meets the members of the swimming team in their homes around the world, and arranges for them to have a reunion in their old swimming pool in Vienna, a journey that evokes memories of youth, femininity, and strengthens lifelong bonds. Told by the swimmers, now in their eighties. (DVD 148)

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