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May 29, 2014 - Image 52

Resource type:
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Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2014-05-29

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arts & entertainment

Festival Faves

Third annual Cinetopia presents
films of Jewish interest.

I

Suzanne Chessler
Contributing Writer

T

he Metro Detroit area's Cinetopia
International Film Festival, now
in its third year of presentations,
draws films from the most popular festi-
vals around the world and has scheduled
six movies with Jewish content this year.
All of the festival's 50 films, to be rotat-
ed among 10 venues around Detroit and
Ann Arbor, will be shown Wednesday-
Sunday, June 4-8.
With a range of categories — including
drama, sci-fi, comedy and documen-
tary — the festival also features special
presentations and a competition for local
filmmakers.
The films of director John Sayles will be
at the center of a June 4 symposium at the
University of Michigan.
Productions with Jewish content span
the categories, with Hanna's Journey, Rock
the Casbah and Yellow Ticket as dramas;
Obvious Child as comedy; and Watchers
of the Sky and My Neighborhood as docu-
mentaries.
Summaries with schedules follow:
Hanna's Journey, an examination of
the aftereffects of the Holocaust on third-
generation Germans and Israelis, made in
2013 by Julia von Heinz, contains dialogue

spoken in English, German and Hebrew.
The film uncovers the motives and
background of a German woman whose
trip to Israel ostensibly is to help disabled
adults.
It will be shown at 7 p.m. Thursday,
June 5, at the Detroit Film Theatre in the
Detroit Institute of Arts; and at 6:30 p.m.
Sunday, June 8, at the Michigan Theater,
603 E. Liberty, in Ann Arbor.
My Neighbourhood, a 2012 joint
American/Israeli/Palestinian-made
short film in English, chronicles the
coming-of-age story of Mohammed El
Kurd, a Palestinian teenager whose fam-
ily is "forced to share" a section of their
east Jerusalem home with Israeli set-
tlers. Then, to his surprise, Mohammed
encounters Israeli activists who arrive
to join residents in protests against the
settlements.
The film screens at 7:30 p.m. Friday,
June 6, at the Arab American National
Museum in Dearborn.
Obvious Child, the feature film debut
of writer-director Gillian Robespierre,
captures the emotions of a Jewish come-
dian (Jenny Slate) from Brooklyn who
is jilted by her boyfriend, takes up with
someone else on the rebound and discov-
ers that she is pregnant.
The film is due for general theatrical

release on Friday, June 27, but film fans
can see it early at Cinetopia, with screen-
ings at 7 p.m. Friday, June 6, at Cinema
Detroit, 3420 Cass; 9:30 p.m. Saturday,
June 7, at the Michigan Theater in Ann
Arbor; and at 3:15 p.m. Sunday, June 8, at
the State Theater, 233 S. State St., in Ann
Arbor.
Rock the Casbah, made in 2012 by
Yariv Horowitz and spoken in Hebrew
with English subtitles, explores feelings
of revenge after an Israeli soldier is killed
while assigned to the Gaza Strip in 1989.
It will be shown at 9:15 p.m. Thursday,
June 5, at the Detroit Film Theatre; and
at 4 p.m. Sunday, June 8, at the Michigan
Theater in Ann Arbor.
The Yellow Ticket, a silent film made
in 1918 by William Parke, emphasizes the
anti-Semitism in czarist Russia as a young
woman hides her religion to enter medi-
cal school. The main character is played
by silent-screen cinema legend Pola Negri.
There will be musical accompaniment
by leading klezmer fiddler Alicia Svigals,
a founder of the Grammy-winning
Klezmatics, on violin and Marilyn Lerner
on piano.
The screening will be at 5 p.m. Sunday,

Three Musketeers, I added a new charac-
ter to the mix because I felt the female
spirit was missing.
"I wanted to broaden the play and
made it more accessible to a wider audi-
ence. There was a very conscious decision
on my part to change the original:'
Ludwig, who grew up in a small
Pennsylvania town knowing he wanted to
be in theater, developed his interest after
seeing shows with his parents.
Very aware of the reality of how hard
it is to make a living working in theater,
he followed his brother in a law career,
although opting for Harvard instead of
Yale.
"I went to work in Washington, D.C.,
for a law firm because I had no money:'
he explains. "It was very much a day job
to support myself while I wrote in all my
free time:'
Ludwig's first produced play, Divine
Fire, was about Abelard and Heloise. It
was staged in a small New York theater.
Sullivan and Gilbert, a biographical
story about the light-opera team, was

another early work that became a co-pro-
duction between the National Arts Centre
of Canada in Ottawa and the Kennedy
Center in Washington.
Other works include Moon Over
Buffalo, Leading Ladies and Be My Baby.
"My latest play is called Baskerville,
a co-production of Arena Stage in
Washington and McCarter Theatre in
Princeton, N.J." says Ludwig, 64, win-
ner of two Laurence Olivier Awards, the
Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of
America and the Edwin Forrest Award for
services to theater.
"This play is a retelling of The Hound
of the Baskervilles. There's Sherlock
Holmes along with Dr. Watson and three
actors who take on 42 characters. It's a
rollicking version that we hope to move
to New York:'
Ludwig, who describes his days as
consumed by writing, is working on three
new plays. He and wife, Adrienne, also a
lawyer, are parents of a daughter studying
public health in college and a son in high
school.

A scene from Hanna's Journey

June 8, at the Detroit Film Theatre.
Watchers of the Sky, released this
year by Jewish filmmaker Edet Belzberg
and spoken in English and Zaghawan/
Spanish/French with subtitles, tells about
the life of Raphael Lemkin, a Polish law-
yer of Jewish descent who immigrated
to the United States in 1941 and became
a human-rights advocate for global jus-
tice and the end of genocide and ethnic
cleansing.
The work of other advocates also
is described, including 90-year-old
Ben Ferencz, who was a prosecutor at
Nuremberg.
The film will be shown at 5:15 p.m.
Friday, June 6, at the University of
Michigan Modern Languages Building in
Ann Arbor; and at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, June
8, at the Detroit Film Theatre.



To find out more about these and
other films in the program, go to
cinetopiafestival.org . While there
are discounted prices for watching
groups of films, tickets for individ-
ual screenings are $9 and $12.

Stratford from page 49

The cast sings a long list of endur-
ing songs, such as "I Got Rhythm:'
"Embraceable You" and "Someone to
Watch Over Me."
"I tried to remain true to the spirit of
the musical, and my favorite song in the
show is "But Not for Me" because the lyr-
ics are so clever and the music is so beau-
tiful," Ludwig says.
"The only part of the story I kept was
the idea of the Easterner going west to
a cowpoke town. I thought that would
allow me to retain two or three songs
from the original score as they refer to
cowboys and things like that.
"The challenge of working on that kind
of musical is making it feel like it's brand-
new. I wanted to make it sound as if I
were in the room with the songwriters at
the time of creating the musical:'
Ludwig, making his first visit to
Stratford, has written adaptations for
the Royal Shakespeare Company and the
Bristol Old Vic in England.
"I try to stay faithful to the spirit of
each original piece he says. "For The

52

May 29 • 2014

A member of Washington Hebrew
Congregation, the playwright has hosted,
organized and written a major fundraiser
for the synagogue, appearing with croon-
er Michael Feinstein.
When it comes to reading, Ludwig par-
ticularly looks for comments from people
who have seen his plays.
"I hope anyone who sees Crazy for You
at Stratford will tweet me about it," he
says. "They can contact me by going to
@Ken_Ludwig."



Crazy for You will be performed
through Oct.12 at the Stratford
Festival in Ontario. For a complete
schedule of plays and special
programs (presentations by creative
teams and performers, conversations
with scholars and critics, behind-
the-scenes tours and more), along
with prices and resources on
accommodations, call (800) 567-
1600, or visit www.stratfordfestival.ca .

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