A documentary on the remarkable life of Ruth Gruber. At 97 years old, Brooklyn-born Ruth still has that same sharp intellect and moxie that propelled her to become the world's youngest PhD ... See full summary »
A documentary on the remarkable life of Ruth Gruber. At 97 years old, Brooklyn-born Ruth still has that same sharp intellect and moxie that propelled her to become the world's youngest PhD at age 20. At age 24, she became a New York Herald Tribune reporter and photographer and the same year was the first journalist to enter the Soviet Arctic. A trusted member of the Roosevelt Administration during WWII, she was given a dangerous secret mission. A feminist before feminism, Ruth was never just an observer, she was a participant in the making of history. Ruth covered the turbulent Middle East throughout the 1940's, and the film combines verité footage of Ruth traveling back to Israel, with interviews and archival material. Written by
Ahead of Time (2009), directed by Robert Richman, is a well--crafted documentary about an extraordinary woman. Ruth Rubin--aged 97 when the movie was made--was a war reporter when such a job was literally unthinkable for most women. She observed--and reported on--the rise of the Nazis in Germany, the struggle for Jewish independence, and the bitter aftermath of that struggle.
It becomes clear early in the movie that Rubin was a passionate advocate for the Israeli cause. In the context of the film, it makes perfect sense that she could be both an observer and a participant. In theory, however, journalists are supposed to report the facts, not the facts colored by their point of view. (This may seem laughable in the 21st Century, when we have the example of Fox News before us, but that indeed was the theory.)
For better or for worse, that wasn't Rubin's belief or practice. However, whatever you think about her journalistic style and political sympathies, you can't help but admire her spirit, her bravery, and her lifelong attempt to transcend gender discrimination in order to be there when important events were unfolding.
We saw this movie in the wonderful Dryden Theatre at George Eastman House in Rochester. It was the opening film of the outstanding Rochester Jewish Film Festival. If it's only available on DVD, it will still work well. Find it and see it!
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