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Tjff 2012 Roundup: The good, the bad, and the ugly

14 May 2012 3:01 PM, PDT | SoundOnSight | See recent SoundOnSight news »

With the 20th Toronto Jewish Film Festival now behind us, it’s time to look back at all the films screened and determine which were the good, the bad, or the ugly.

The Good

Oss 117: Lost in Rio

The most complimentary thing you can say about Michel Hazanavicius is something everyone acknowledged after his Oscar-winning 21st century silent film, The Artist – Hazanavicius knows his cinema. Oss 117: Lost in Rio boasts endearing performances and successfully taps into the nostalgia for 1960’s cinema. This is the spoof that the Austin Powers trilogy wished it could be. Just don’t expect this spy film to be revelatory.

The Day I Saw Your Heart

Although wildly imperfect, The Day I Saw Your Heart magically conciliates its flaws with French charm. From any other country, this film might not have worked, but because it’s French, it does. It’s clearly unfair, but, »

- Justin Li

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Tjff 2012: ‘Polish Bar’ is no Matisyahu

12 May 2012 4:26 PM, PDT | SoundOnSight | See recent SoundOnSight news »

Polish Bar

Directed by Ben Berkowitz

Written by Ben Berkowitz and Ben Redgrave

USA, 2010

For those who aren’t in the know, there is an amazing phenomenon in the music community known as Matisyahu. With an eclectic style ranging from hip-hop, rock, and reggae fusion, Matisyahu is known as “the most intriguing reggae artist in the world” and was named the Top Reggae Artist by Billboard in 2006.

It just so happens that he’s a Hassidic Jew.

Matisyahu (real name Matthew Paul Miller) is a positive example of an individual embracing two seemingly conflicting cultures to, by synthesizing his diverse influences, create wondrous pieces of music.

Ben Berkowitz’ drama film, Polish Bar, tries to modernize this example by telling the story of a young Jewish DJ, but the result is a narrative with a drastically conflicting identity, let alone its characters’.

Vincent Piazza (from Boardwalk Empire) is Reuben, an aspiring »

- Justin Li

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2012 | 2010 | 2009

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