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April 12, 2012 - Image 39

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-04-12

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arts & entertainment >> on the cover

Reel

JCC Film Festival

strives to both
entertain and
educate.

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

to the country and his own son, Yair.
Thirty years after Elazar's death, Yair
decided to make a film about his father.
He could never have imagined the man he
would discover.
Missing Father will be shown at 8:30
p.m. Tuesday, April 24, at the Berman
Center for the Performing Arts in West
Bloomfield, following the communitywide
Yom HaZikaron ceremony honoring Israeli
soldiers who have fallen in battle.
It is one of more than 30 films in the
Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan
Detroit's 14th annual Lenore Marwil
Jewish Film Festival, to be held April
22-May 3 in West Bloomfield, Royal Oak,
Ann Arbor and Flint.
"Once again the world of film comes
to the JCC's Lenore Marwil Jewish Film
Festival," said the event's chair, Eric
Lumberg."There is something for every-
one's interest — something to entertain,
inform or educate.
"In particular, this year's documentary
films are outstanding and show that
sometimes truth is just as compelling
as fiction:'
The event's opening night
will feature Buried Prayers,
followed by a presenta-
tion from the film's
writer and producer,
Matt Mazer, at
the Berman.
Buried

Prayers begins in 1943, when a handful
of Jews who survived the Warsaw Ghetto
Uprising are taken to Majdanek. There,
they decide to hide the few, small items
they still have rather than let these fall
into the hands of the Nazis. So they bury
the photos, the coins and the jewelry 6
inches in the earth, where they lay hidden
for years, untouched.
But not forgotten.
Most of those Jews at Majdanek were
murdered, but the ones who survived
never forgot the secret the earth kept for
so many years. One day, they return to see
what remains.
Buried Prayers, which received the
Best Documentary at the Cinequest Film
Festival in 2010, brings together survivors
and researchers from Australia, the United
States, Germany, Israel, Italy and England
who return to Majdanek to unearth the
keepsakes.
Eventually, more than 80 items
are found — the largest recov-
ery of valuables from any
Nazi death camp.
"Seeing this film is an
unforgettable experience
said Film Festival Director
Rachel Ruskin. "It is truly moving
to watch the team uncovering the
personal objects:'
This year marks Ruskin's first as Lenore
Marwil Jewish Film Festival director, and
she is certain she has just walked into

Paradise.
A Detroit native who also lived for
several years in Israel, Ruskin often told
friends that her dream job was to choose
all the films shown on a TV movie chan-
nel. As director of the film festival, she was
able to do virtually that, offering a selec-
tion that is diverse and fresh.
There are a number of Israeli films this
year and a workshop with Israeli screen-
writer Galit Roichman (Homecoming).
Ruskin admits to a strong affinity for
Israeli films, "even if they're bad!"
Unlike American cinema, which often
invites audiences to experience worlds as
far from reality as possible, movies made
in Israel ask audiences to experience even
more reality, with themes often includ-
ing war and terrorism, intermarriage and
societal problems.
That's why Ruskin loves them.
"Watching Israeli films is like peering
into Israeli society:' Ruskin says. One of
her favorites is Walk on Water, the story of
a Mossad agent dealing with the death of
his wife, searching for a Nazi war criminal,
falling in love with his German goddaugh-
ter and (yes, there's more) addressing his
own homophobia.
Israeli movies are her favorites, but
Ruskin also recommends foreign films
of all kinds, including Bride Flight, which
will be shown Saturday, April 28, at the
Berman and Wednesday, April 25, at the
Emagine Royal Oak.

A Dutch film, Bride Flight is an epic
romance that takes place just after World
War II. As the story begins, three Dutch
women, named Esther, Ada and Marjorie,
are on their way to New Zealand to meet
their future husbands. Also on board is
a charming young man named Frank,
and all their lives are about to become
entangled. (Please note: This film contains
mature material and sexual content.)
According to Ruskin, the movie's "beau-
tiful scenery and cinematography make
this film especially engaging on the big
screen."
But if you're not interested in a love
story, there's plenty more to fall in love
with at the film festival, Ruskin says.
Just consider the extraordinary diversity
of the topics: Sholem Aleichem, a small
group of Jews who escape to Colombia
during World War II, wounded soldiers
who participate in an extraordinary ski
program, an Israeli astronaut, a quirky
family reunion, a rabbi accused of sexual
abuse, Building Bridges for Peace partici-
pants, the mysterious history of a famous
painting and Muslims who helped Jews
during World War II. (For a complete list,
see the accompanying schedule on page
40).



Elizabeth Applebaum is a marketing spe-

cialist at the Jewish Community Center of
Metropolitan Detroit.

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