Director Joshua Weinstein’s “Menashe,” which debuts nationally July 28, emanates a rarely seen authenticity, tenderness and depth sadly lacking in other mainstream on-screen depictions of Hasidic Jews and their communities, writes film reviewer Jane Hanser.
Before there was the U.S. Olympic team’s “miracle on ice” against the Russians, there was Maccabi Tel Aviv “miracle on hardwood” against CSKA Moscow at the 1977 European basketball championships, a feat that resonated across the free world. Dani Menkin’s new documentary, “On The Map,” recounts the achievements of an Israeli team nobody thought could win, and captures the unique charisma of the players who inspired a nation that was still making its initial foray onto the world stage. Maccabi Tel Aviv’s story proves that regardless of the current international mood, Israel remains a country that matters, writes film reviewer Jeffrey Barken.
The story of two of these honored heroes, American minister Waitstill Sharp and his wife, Martha, is brought to life in the new Ken Burns film, “Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War,” airing Sept. 20 on PBS stations nationwide.
The Sharps' grandson, Artemis Joukowsky, co-directed the compelling new documentary with Burns, which sheds light on how the couple saved refugees from Nazi persecution while the war raged on in Europe.
What do many Muslims, Christians, Bedouin, and Druze living in Israel have in common? It’s not the obvious fact that they are members of minority populations, but that they are minorities who love and support the country they call “home”—despite preconceived notions about Israeli Arabs. These Israeli minorities are given a voice in “My Home,” the latest documentary from filmmaker Igal Hecht and winner of Best Director upon its world premier at Boston’s Global Cinema Film Festival. The Hebrew-language, English-subtitled film explores what it calls the “silent Arab majority” in Israel—through the perspectives of four individual leaders, from the Muslim, Bedouin, Christian, and Druze communities.
Three Israeli real estate brokers, developers, and property managers based in Brooklyn were in the heart of the real estate boom prior to the big bust of 2008. They were buying dilapidated properties, renovating them, and then reselling them—usually to people who could only obtain loans through the controversial government-backed programs that encouraged property ownership even for those who could not afford it. What they saw were greedy mortgage brokers, shady developers, and likely inept or corrupted appraisers, and they witnessed firsthand the dealmaking on the ground to get these properties sold. It inspired them to write a screenplay and develop a story to share with the world—the 2015 movie “The Closer.” Eli Hershko, Isaac Broyn, and Victor Baranes have elevated themselves from unknown real estate entrepreneurs to the competitive world of Hollywood and the indie film market, writes film reviewer George Bishai.