SENIORS IN THE MOVIES
Written by Dolores Luber
The movie shines a well-deserved spotlight on the brilliant performance by Glenn Close (age 72). Close plays the long-suffering spouse Joan to famous writer Joe (Jonathan Pryce, age 71), who, as the film opens in 1992, has just received the Nobel Prize for literature. The film cleverly circles back on all manner of tiny details, forcing us to see fragments of married life refracted in new and revealing ways. We experience a simmering undercurrent of unease as Joan’s disquiet swells. Edgy, brilliant and shockingly believable, an excellent film. Available at Black Dog Video.
THE CHILDREN ACT
Emma Thompson (age 60) plays Fiona Maye, the judge whose field of expertise is family law. Her clerk, Nigel Pauling (Jason Watkins) calls one evening, after hours, with a pressing matter. A boy, Adam Henry, is dying of leukemia, days away from death. To save him, he requires a blood transfusion. His parents forbid the procedure to go ahead, they are Jehovah’s Witness. Adam agrees with them and is ready to perish for his beliefs, but, being three months short of his eighteenth birthday, he is also technically a child, and it is thus the responsibility of the court, and of Fiona in particular, to determine what is best. Emma Thompson is superb in the heated arguments and in her elegant brittleness. A challenging and stimulating film, intense and fulfilling. Available at Black Dog Video.
STRUGGLE: THE LIFE AND LOST ART OF SZUKALSKI
Struggle: The Life and Lost Art of Szukalski is a remarkable documentary by Irek Dobrowolski. It paints a comprehensive and intimate portrait of the Polish artist Stanislav Szukalski, (1893-1987), from his early years in Chicago, to his time in Poland and Los Angeles, and his artistic and political contributions to the world. Collector, Glenn Bray finds him living anonymously in California—the fame he had achieved now obscured as well as his view of himself as something of a genius. The tangled legacy is revealed through interviews with Szukalski, and the visual feast of his monumental talent and art work, and his bigotry and anti-Semitism. The film has rescued the artist from oblivion, but the viewer must decide how he ought to be remembered. Available on Netflix.ca.
A four-part mini-series follows the story of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE) trying the war crimes of the Japanese military post-WWII. The creators of the show carefully weave the legal arguments and political influences as well as the internal battles within the tribunal. The show includes actual footage of the trial and what Japan was like at the time. The seamless movement between reality and fiction makes this show a fantastic watch as viewers get a glimpse into the society of Japan at the time. Available on Netflix.ca.
THE RESISTANCE BANKER
The movie is an astonishing tale of courage, duty and loyalty, the story of Walraven van Hall, and his brother Gijs van Hall, affluent bankers, who are living happy and prosperous lives with their wives and children in Holland. But with the German occupation of Netherlands in 1940, they witness a number of their friends, neighbours and colleagues disappear forever. Wally begins to fund the Dutch resistance to the occupation with acts of resistance. Living under the constant threat of being discovered, Wally is forced to stay away from his family, until one day, the Germans get to him. The facts are awe-inspiring, the film is impeccably made, haunting and pitch-perfect, a must see! Available on Netflix.ca.
ISRAELI MOVIES AND TV SERIES
INSIDE THE MOSSAD
This television series reveals former Mossad agent insider spy stories—some of them even about recent incidents. Mossad is the National Intelligence Agency of Israel, responsible for clandestine operations overseas, including assassinations. Many of the dozen or so former Mossad agents who participated in the film seem to shrug off the notion that some of their activities may have had dubious moral justification. Unable to rely on other countries to ensure its existence, Israel is likely to continue to use Mossad as a key player in it defense arsenal. Watch it and decide for yourself. Available on Netflix.ca.
WHEN HEROES FLY
A television series (10 episodes) created, written and directed by Omri Givron, follows a former Israeli military commando, Aviv, who reunites with his former army buddies in the Colombian jungle on a quest to rescue the love of his life. The relationship between the soldiers and the battle that ultimately splits this close-knit group apart is revealed. The hero, Aviv, slowly loses his grip on his mental health in the aftermath. Also, what happened to Yaeli, his girlfriend becomes clear. Featuring breathtaking cinematography and a stellar cast, it will grab you and keep you hooked until the very end. Available on Netflix.ca.
A poignant Israeli comedy about Gangsters-Turned-Do-Gooders. Two hardened criminals, after narrowly surviving a suicide bombing, decide to make their lives worthwhile by helping others. To accomplish this, they sneak notes from the Western Wall and then set out to fulfill the wishes of the prayerful authors. But there are theological complications and intractable things they haven’t the power to change. Available on Netflix.ca.
Emotions of grief and dread permeate this movie. A woman opens a door, stares into the camera and falls to the ground. Just one look, and Dafna knows the worst: the soldiers on her doorstep have come to bring death. The movie builds into a devastating indictment of a nation, shock by shock, brutal moment by brutal moment. The writer and director Samuel Maoz has an exacting eye. The framing is meticulous. The subsequent scene is a remote outpost manned by four young soldiers. There life is boring, uncomfortable, and dangerous but they cope. The violence which hangs over this movie finally erupts. Mr. Moaz suggests that grief and violence are inevitable, maybe normal. This is a tough, exquisite film, worth watching. Available at Waldman Jewish Public Library, JCC.
CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME
Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant make beautiful melancholy music together in this true tale set during the last bright spark of the analogue age. The year is 1991, and author Lee Israel decides to supplement her income by forging letters by dead celebrities. It all goes south, but what a lovely ride. Especially for lovers of books and New York City. Available at Black Dog Video.
The true story of Ashraf Marwan, who was son-in-law of Egypt’s President Nasser, and confidant to his successor Anwar Sadat – while simultaneously Israeli Intelligence’s most precious asset of the 20th century. Or perhaps a double agent secretly working for the Egyptians. The controversy remains to this day, and the story has been compellingly dramatized in the film, directed by Ariel Vromen. Available on Netflix.ca.