From the big screen to the small, we have some ideas about what to watch this month. Among our recommendations are two films from the 2016 AJFF, a summer classic, and the role that prompted Jerry Lewis to come out of retirement.
A Tale of Love and Darkness
Natalie Portman's critically acclaimed directorial debut is based on Amos Oz's acclaimed memoir about Oz's early life growing up in 1940s Jerusalem, his relationship with his mother, as played by Portman, and his beginnings as a writer.
A bridegroom is possessed by a restless spirit during his own wedding celebration in this sinister and at times darkly humorous film, which is a modern-day take on the dybbuk legend of Jewish folklore. Rooted in themes of historical denial and reconciliation of Poland’s troubled Jewish past, the film, which had its East Coast premiere at the 2016 AJFF, is adapted from a 2008 play, Adherence, by noted Polish writer Piotr Rowicki, and given added poignancy by the untimely death of its young writer-director Marcin Wrona, who tragically took his own life soon after the film’s world premiere.
Jerry Lewis returns to the silver screen portraying an aging jazz pianist who learns that his recently deceased wife of 50 years may have been unfaithful to him in the early years of their marriage.
The 2008 film, starring Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, and Jamie Bell, is based on the true story of a group of Jews in Belarus who successfully defied the Nazis by hiding in the forest and by creating a self-contained society while losing only about 50 of their some 1,200 members. The film is based on Nechama Tec's 1993 book Defiance: The Bielski Partisans.
How fitting that for the end of summer the film that made you stay out of the water is back. The 1975 thriller directed by Steven Spielberg is based on Peter Benchley's 1974 novel of the same name. If you've never seen it and aren't actively about to go swimming in the ocean, it's probably time to dip your toe in these waters. And, if you have, jump back in; the water's fine.
DVD & Blu-Ray
As said in this New York Times Review, "Not Even Nuns Are Spared War Horrors." The film follows, in December 1945, a Red Cross doctor who tries to help a group of pregnant Benedictine nuns at a convent in Warsaw, Poland.
A favorite of the 2016 AJFF, the film features sterling performances that highlight the sensitive and heartbreaking story of a mentally disabled but strong-willed young Israeli woman who struggles for independence. Nominated for nine Israeli Academy Awards, the film also scored big at the Jerusalem International Film Festival, with Best Supporting Actress honors for Assi Levy and Best Israeli Debut Feature prize for first-time writer-director Nitzan Gilady, who was also a guest at AJFF this past year.