The Cinema Lounge Discussion Group
By Brian Niemiec
Alas, how times have changed. On October 16, The Cinema Lounge met to discuss the rerelease of the horror classic, The Exorcist. A couple of attendees who weren't even born in 1973 remarked, "It wasn't that scary." Well! Tell that to the people who reportedly vomited, fainted or had a heart attack during its initial run. Tell that to the throngs of people who lined up at wee hours of the morning for tickets. Tell that to a Boston Catholic Center that reported it received at least one request of an exorcism a day during the film's release. Kids these days.I tell ya. Desensitization was just one of the topics that floated around the table (pun intended). I suggested that The Exorcist. is really about the sexual awakening of women that took place during the '60s and '70s. It was also suggested that the film pleaded for a return to the traditional values of Church over science. All who saw the movie agreed that the infamous "spider-walk" scene, added for the rerelease, was worth the price of admission, while the other added scenes were questionable.
Talk then turned to Hollywood's relationship with horror. It was agreed that Hollywood does not recognize horror as a serious genre, but uses every chance to exploit it for a quick buck. We also recognized that comedies and science fiction films fall through the same cracks in Hollywood.
Cinema Lounge's next meeting will take place on Monday, November 13, at 7:30 p.m. at Borders Books, 5333 Wisconsin Avenue NW in the Café Espresso on the second floor. We will talk about the Golden Age of Foreign Films, roughly 1940 to 1960. We will take a look at how the foreign films released during that era are viewed today and discuss the present state of foreign releases. Suggested viewing: The Grand Illusion (Jean Renoir, 1938), The Bicycle Thief (Vittorio De Sica, 1948), Rashomon (Akira Kurosawa, 1950), The Seventh Seal (Ingmar Bergman, 1957), 400 Blows (François Truffaut, 1959), La Dolce Vita (Federico Fellini, 1959) and Breathless (Jean-Luc Godard, 1960). Be sure to join us.
In December, it is time to 'fess up. We will meet on Monday, December 11 to talk about our guilty pleasures. Trust me, I will set the high bar for an evening of gut-wrenching admissions. Potential blackmailers are not welcome.
The Eleventh Washington Jewish Film Festival
The 11th Washington Jewish Film Festival: An Exhibition of International Cinema opens on Thursday, November 30th with the DC Premiere of the award-winning Italian film The Sky Falls. Based on Lorenza Mazetti's autobiographic novel it stars Isabella Rossellini and Jeroen Krabbè. Directors Andrea and Antonio Frazzi and Ms. Rossellini have been invited for this special screening at the Lincoln Theater.
The Festival closes on December 10th with the Czech dark comedy Divided We Fall, directed by Jan Hrebejk. A reception at the Embassy of the Czech Republic will follow. In addition to the DCJCC's Cecile Goldman Theater, this year's Festival will be presented at the following venues: The Lincoln Theater, Visions Cinema Bistro Lounge, The Foundry Theater, and free screenings at the Goethe-Institut Washington and The National Gallery of Art.
Following are some of the highlights of the 45 features, documentaries and shorts, from more than a dozen countries, to be presented during this year's 10-day Festival.
From Agnieszka Holland, comes The Dybbuk, a luminous retelling of the famous Yiddish folktale of a wandering soul in search of an earthly body. Ms. Holland is scheduled to attend. In the chilling drama After The Truth, Josef Mengele is delivered to present-day Berlin, where he is forced to stand trial for the atrocities which afforded him the title "Auschwitz's Angel of Death." Following the screening, Director Roland Suso Richter will have a dialogue with Marc Fisher, Washington Post Columnist, former Berlin Bureau Chief and author of After the Wall: Germany, the Germans and the Burdens of History.
Inspired by the real life experiences of English stockbroker Nicholas Winton, who saved nearly 700 Czech Jewish children in 1939, All My Loved Ones focuses on the Silberstein family, a loving, extended Jewish family, as they navigate the rapids and doldrums of life in Eastern Europe. Filmmaker Pola Rapaport will be in attendance at the screening of her documentary Family Secret. The film reveals how Ms. Rapaport discovered a half brother Pierre Randulescu-Bau, whose existence was kept a secret by their father. In France, Pola and Pierre revisit the places where their parents lived, and search for long lost friends to fill in the family history in Paris during the 1940s and '50s.
Additional films include: Rosenzweig's Freedom, a neo-Nazi thriller; Disparus, a film about passion, art and politics; Simon Magus, a dark fable of love, demonology, and supernatural business practices, starring Shine's Noah Taylor; Voyages, the French film that follows three women as they take their separate journeys through Poland, Paris and Tel Aviv; Would I Lie To You?, a whimsical, romantic comedy surrounding a man who's mistaken as a Jew, and does all he can to hide the truth. Fighter is a powerful combination of friendship, adventure, and the inner strength of two friends whose different paths, 50 years earlier, lead to collisions along the way today. Jan Weiner and Arnost Lustig (Author and A.U. Professor will attend) join forces and retrace the steps of a 25-year-old Weiner's courageous journey through Europe. Presumed to be lost for 80 years, the 1913 film The Life Of The Jews In Palestine resurfaced only recently when it was discovered in the vaults of France's national film archive. One of the most significant, yet often forgotten, legal fights of the twentieth century, Scottsboro: An American Tragedy reexamines the story of nine black youths, defended by a New York Jewish attorney, who were unjustly accused of raping two white women in Alabama in the '30s. Set during the height of the Cold War, A Trial In Prague tells the story of an infamous Czech show trial of fourteen leading Communists who were tried on charges of high treason and espionage. We Were In It Too: American-Jewish Women Veterans Remember World War II: Amidst anti-Semitism and sexism, a number of Jewish-American women served in uniform in World War II. Director Debora Duerksen's documentary traces the fascinating experiences of eight of these veterans.
"Jewish Briefs: A Shorts Program" includes: Babcha, Cock Fight, Geographie, The Metamorphosis Of Mr. Samsa and The Street, Return of Tuvia, One Day Crossing, Zummel, Under Control. Tickets for the Film Festival will go on sale mid-November. For more information or for a complete program listing, please visit their website or call 202-777-3248.
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