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October 15, 2009 - Image 59

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2009-10-15

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

4.ews

4111 I Nate Bloom
ONN.
sia Special to the Jewish News

IC

Wild Things

CU Ten years in the making, the film

mum adaptation of Maurice Sendak's
classic 1963 children's book, Where
the Wild Things Are, hits movie the-

co

Friday, Oct. 16.
11 14 aters The on film
is a combination of live

action and computer generated
characters that tells the tale of Max,
a young boy who is angry when his
mother, Connie (Catherine Keener),
invites her boyfriend over. After he
repeatedly misbehaves, his mother
sends Max to his room. He ends up
feeling unloved and runs away. He
finds a boat and sails away to an
island, inhabited by seven imaginary
monsters called "the Wild Things,"
where they crown him as the ruler.
Sendak, 81, the
Brooklyn-raised son
of Jewish immigrants,
is one of the most
acclaimed children's
authors of our time. He
has frequently noted the
importance of his Jewish
background and the
Maurice
Holocaust upon his work.
Sendak
The director is Spike
Jonze, 39, who deftly managed to
turn Charlie Kaufman's almost sur-
realistic screenplays for Adaptation
and Being John Malkovich into com-
prehensible, hit films.
Born Adam Spiegel, the director's
friends nicknamed him Spike Jonze

Avenue in 1960 for presidential candi-
date John F. Kennedy.
But he's the exception, for Schmatta
isn't a carefully organized explication
of key players and events but a shal-
low oral history whose distinguishing
characteristic is an ear for the amus-
ing but trivial anecdote. Worse, the
editing of a handful of firsthand wit-
nesses over the course of the film ulti-
mately distills them into a simplistic
labor vs. capital dialectic.
As one might expect, the cata-
strophic Triangle Shirtwaist Factory
fire of 1911, which claimed the lives of
146 young women, is mentioned early
on. We can only imagine the griev-
ing on the Lower East Side, even as
the tragedy became a rallying call for
workplace safety, government regula-
tion and union organizing.
Much later, Levin makes pointed
mention of a similar 2000 fire in a

when he was a teenager because
of his unkempt, spiky hair. He has
some Jewish background, but he's
never discussed it. Jonze is the
great-great grandson of the Jewish
founder of the Spiegel catalogue
company. It's unclear, however,
whether either or both of Jonze's
parents are Jewish.

Merry Music

Neil Diamond and Bob
Dylan both released
Christmas music CDs
this week.
All the domestic
profits from Dylan's CD,
Christmas in the Heart, Bob Dylan
will be donated to
provide food aid to poor American
families. Diamond's album features
two Christmas songs he wrote,
including the title track ("A Cherry,
Cherry Christmas").
Diamond includes
one Chanukah tune,
Adam Sandler's
"Chanukah Song,"
a funny ditty about
Jewish celebrities. On
the CD, Diamond pref-
Neil Diamond
aces Sandler's song:
"There are so many
beautiful Christmas songs and so
few Chanukah songs, so I thought
we'd try this one."
The irony is that Jewish song-
writers, like Mel Torme, wrote more
than half the Christmas songs on
Diamond's and Dylan's CDs. 'E

sportswear factory in Chowdhury,
Bangladesh, in which more than 50
young women and children died. We
may kvell at the filmmaker's Jewish
sense of social justice, but we must also
acknowledge the aggressively successful
Jewish apparel exec that acknowledges
maintaining his profit margins by con-
tracting with Third World factories.
A fast-paced overview with an up-
to-the-minute feel, Schmatta: Rags to
Riches to Rags stands as a snapshot
of an industry — and a country
— where, as one interviewee puts it,
"Nobody wants to manufacture, every-
body wants to broker." Doesn't leave
much room for a sequel, does it? Fl

Schmatta: Rags to Riches to
Rags premieres 9 p.m. Monday,
Oct. 19, on HBO, with numerous
repeats.

9
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As she struggles to finish the novel, conflicts
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October 15 • 2009

57

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