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October 20, 1978 - Image 22

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1978-10-20

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Friday, October 20, 1918

IBM
Typewriters Selectric,

Mail Strike Ends

etc.

$400
Add 'n Type

342-7800

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

862-1300;

WASHINGTON — The
U.S. Postal Service has
ended its embargo of mail
bound for Israel following
the end of an Israeli postal
strike last Friday.

Men's Club of Cong. Beth Shalom

Presents Their Annual

CABARET NIGHT

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 28th-9:00 P.M.

Show
F
THE TRACEY TWINS

loor

Also Dancing with

With

a special
salute to

American
Jewish popular
composers and
performers

The TOM PLOEGER BAND and VOCALIST

• Late Evening Meal—Including Spaghetti and Salad
• B.Y.O.B. — Free set ups provided
$18.00 per couple —
Mens' Club Members
$22.00 per couple —
Non-Members

•ADMISSION PRICE

For Early Reservations

Mail Check to: Howard Tamer, 23860 Jerome, Oak Park, MI 48231

Director Claudia Weill's 'Girlfriends' Film
Earns Acclaim Despite Great Procuction Odds

By HERBERT LUFT

(Copyright 1978, JTA, Inc.)


HOLLYWOOD
Claudia Weill, the 30-
year-old New Yorker,
achieved what many aspir-
ing young film makers only
dream about — to make a
truly independent motion
picture of her own concep-
tion with comparatively
unknown actors, reap artis-
tic acclaim at international
festivals such as Cannes
and find a world-wide major
distributor such as Warner
Bros.
Claudia, whose paternal
grandparents hail from a
small, medieval town at the
river Rhine, fled to Zurich,
Switzerland, to escape Nazi
oppression and left for New
York in 1938 with their
children, herself a graduate
of Radcliffe College, studied
acting in New York and di-
rected theater before break-
ing into the cinema as free-

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lance still photographer and
camera person.
She has produced and di-
rected numerous documen-
taries for the Public Broad-
casting System, among
them "Joyce at 34," and a
score of films for "Sesame
Street." She went to China
with Shirley MacLaine in
1975 to direct the Oscar-
nominated documentary,
"The Other Half of the Sky:
A China Memoir."
At a cocktail reception
at Warner Bros., Ms.
Weill revealed the
genesis of "Girlfriends,"
the picture now under
discussion. She told me
that the film started as a
$10,000 short, grew in
scope and size because
the story of loneliness
and two young women's
unfulfilled aspirations
has universal appeal and
needed a full treatment.
With additional finances
of grants, loans and contri-
butions by friends, the
budget extended to $80,000.
Production commenced in
December of 1975 in a
walk-up flat in Manhattan,
initially concentrating on
the interplay between two
young women portrayed by
Melanie Mayron and new-
comer Anita Skinner.
Perfectly normal, they
look to men for sexual ful-
fillment, though they are
very fond of each other,
sharing a goal for artistic
expression, the first one as
photographer, the other one
as a writer.
After viewing the footage,
Ms. Weill and her co-author
Vicki Polon (who is solely
responsible for the final sc-
reen play) decided that
more photography was
needed to extend the story
line and show what would
become of the character por-
trayed by Melanie Mayron
after her girlfriend moves
out and marries. Exactly a
year after commencement
of production, with fresh but
still insufficient financing,
the cameras started to grind
again, this time on a 14-
hour-a-day schedule. The
ingenuity of crew, staff and
performers was pivotal to
the film's completion.
The year of 1977 was
spent completing photog-
raphy, editing, scoring and
dubbing in New York and
the picture was ready for
screening early in 1978. It
had its first test at the Rot-
terdam Film Festival, fol-
lowed by the Los Angeles
Film Exposition with Can-
nes establishing an interna-
tional reputation for Ms.
Weill and her cast.
We talked with Melanie
Mayron, on the screen an
Ugly Duckling, as she has
been before in "Harry
and Tonto" and "Car
Wash," but in life a young
woman with a refresh-
ingly vibrant personality
though not beautiful in
an ordinary sense. The
young actress is abso-
lutely right for the cen-
tral character of Susan
Weinblatt portrayed by
her in "Girlfriends," with

Ms. Skinner, a blondish
beauty, her more sub-
dued roommate and con-
fidante.
"Girlfriends" is not a per-
fect picture, but one made
courageously without much
money and hardly an ad-
vance publicity campaign.
It lets you think about your
fellow human beings and,
hopefully, about yourself.
In the meantime, Warner
Bros. have signed Claudia
Weill to a two-picture de-
velopment deal.
At the Hollywood Bowl
we were treated twice this
year with outstanding Is-
raeli artists. There was first
Itzhak Perlman, the
violinist who in spite of
physical handicaps, rose to
greatness as a concert vir-
tuoso. It was a rare treat to
hear him in the Brahms
Concerto in A Minor with
Mstislav Rostropovich at
the cello and Zubin Mehta
conducting the Los Angeles
Philharmonic Orchestra.
Our second guest artist
from Eretz Israel was Tel
Aviv-born pianist Ilana
Vered, a young woman of
great charm and poise,

who at age 15, after
graduation from the
Paris Conservatory, had
started her concert
career making her New
York debut in 1963. Miss
Vered recently returned
from London where she
performed with the
Royal Philharmonic.
At the Bowl, she E.ppeared
with the Los Angeles
Philharmonic under the
baton of Michael Tilson
Thomas who is a grandson
of the great Yiddish actor
Thomashefsky, a giant on
the Second Avenue stage at
the turn of the century.

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