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"SEE IT IF You HAVE A Soul,:
Andrew Sarris, New York Observer
Stanley KaulTmann, Neu Republic
Lisa Sclmarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly
Ella Taylor, LA Weekly
Bruce Diones, The New Yorker
Res Reed, Nov York Obserser
In 1939, thousands of Jewish refugees escaped Nazi persecution to
the only place that was open to them...
4135 W Maple Road • 12431 502-0180
NETS TOD AY !
For showtimes visit www.LandmarkTheatres.com
(Corner of 12 Mika Rd.)
THURS. AFTER 3 P.M.
Not Good With Any Other Specials
Oscar-nominated short follows a New York City
neighborhood legend and the community
that rallies behind him.
Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles
n 1998, Alice Elliott received a
disturbing call from Larry
Selman, the remarkable, devel-
opmentally disabled man she
was profiling in her Oscar-nominated
short documentary, The Collector of
film captures how the neighbors
banded together to help Selman, rais-
ing approximately $30,000 to estab-
lish a community trust administered
by United Jewish Appeal-Federation
of New York. An advocate assigned
by the trust promptly secured him in-
home care and suggested a singles
group where he met his developmen-
tally disabled girlfriend, Ellie. ("I'm
Jewish," she says when he asks her to
dance. "I'm Jewish, too," he replies.)
Elliott says her film was partly
Selman, now 61, lived near the
poverty level in a tiny single apart-
ment across the street from Elliott's
Greenwich Village row house.
Yet over the years, he had raised
hundreds of thousands of dol-
lars for others in need,
trundling down Bedford Street
with his dog, Happy, while
soliciting for causes such as
"I'm a collector," he'd say,
looking jaunty in his red sus-
"He'd talk about doing mitz-
vahs," said Elliott. "There was a
tradition of service in his family
I believe was part of their
Jewish value system."
But as the director began
shooting her film in 1996, she
realized Selman's situation was
dire. His only caretaker, his
uncle, Murray Schaul, 81, was
growing frailer and more for-
getful. And Selman had already
clashed with his co-op board
Larry Selman and director Alice Elliott
over another kind of collecting:
"I took the homeless people in
because I was lonely," he says in
inspired by Ira Wohl's 1980 Oscar-
Then came the distraught message
winner, Best Boy, another intimate
he left on Elliott's answering machine
portrait of a developmentally disabled
in 1998. Selman, who suffered from
man and his Jewish family in crisis.
depression, suggested he was tired of
being a burden, so he was going off to "The Collector of Bedford Street is the
work of a mature person and filmmak-
live under the Coney Island board-
er," Wohl said in an interview. "It's a
walk with a transient.
non-voyeuristic look at an empathetic
An alarmed Elliott immediately
main character and a community
phoned her neighbors for help.
coming together to protect him.
"Larry is diabetic, and I feared he
"It's very pertinent at a time when
might go on a sugar binge," she said.
there's so little of that going on. It's an
"I worried that people might take
example of the filmmaker as crusader."
advantage of him or hurt him physi-
Selman has been a crusader, in his
way, since childhood. He
Her nuanced, sensitively wrought