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February 07, 2003 - Image 96

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-02-07

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Arts Entertainment

At The Movies

Banquet and Party Room

from page 67
To prepare, Taylor read
numerous biographies and stud-
ied the Rihrer's body language
in Leni Riefenstahl's propaganda
film Triumph of the Will, which
he practiced in front of a mirror.
"I wanted to provide little
glimpses of what was to come
for Hitler — such as the vain
gesture he had of smoothing his
hair," said Taylor, 33.
John Cusack, as Max Rothman, took no salary
"It was like mincy-military.
his role:- "I thought it was an important
Hitler had all these incredibly
about very important things."
odd and effete gestures, the
hands on hips, for example,
which I combined with his rigid
too well when, on the set in Budapest,
body language from having been a
he glimpsed himself in a mirror and
soldier. It was like he was so self-con-
felt like he was "wearing a horror
scious that his body didn't ever
mask." At the movie's premiere in
Toronto, he worried, "It could all end
Taylor felt he'd done his job a bit
up with me being spat on."


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gybe every movie wasn't
as overtly Jewish as the
yarmulke-, tsitsit- and
gun-toting hero in The
Hebrew Hammer — a "Jewsploitation"
spoof featuring Mordechai Jefferson
Carver (Adam Goldberg) as the
Orthodox hero who saves Chanukah
from the Evil Santa (Andy Dick) —
but there sure were a lot of Jewish fami-
lies, characters and themes innate in
many other films in Park City, Utah, at
the famed Sundance Film Festival last
month — films that will be seen in
theaters and on television in the
upcoming year.
Take what the New York Pods "Page
Six" called the "surprise hit" of the festi-
val, The Boys of 2nd Street Park, a nos-
talgic documentary tracing the lives of
a group of boys who played ball in a
Brighton Beach park in Brooklyn.
Boys — which was picked up by
Showtime — tells the story of a genera-
tion of Jewish boys who were born in
the 1950s, grew up in the '60s and
'70s, and tried to right themselves in
these last two decades.
"We're all Jewish," director Ron

Berger admitted after the film — which
received a standing ovation — when
asked how ethnicity played a part in
the film that scarcely acknowledges the
religion of its main characters.
At a festival known for its dark, off-
beat films, Jewish characters didn't
always look so pretty. Documentary
Grand Jury Prize winner Capturing the
Friedmans zooms in on a Great Neck,
Long Island, upper middle-class Jewish
family — some of whose members also
happen to be convicted child molesters.
Picture a soft-spoken nebbishy father
and his three balding, neurotic sons.
They're lighting the menorah, having a
Passover seder, competing with their
synagogue circle to be "the best" in
everything — and so start an after-
school computer class in their home.
Arthur, the father, and his youngest
son, Jesse, then 18, are arrested in 1987
and charged with dozens of counts of
sodomy and molestation of the neigh-
borhood Jewish boys in the class.
Did the father and son do it? The
film manipulates the information in
such a way as to leave viewers uncer-
Using the family's own home movies
— Arthur was a ham and cameraman,
and his eldest son, David, began

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