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Loving Leah (2009 TV Movie)
Living in Israel I would be extremely interested in seeing this.
6 April 2009
As I am a secular Israeli, I would be very interested in seeing this film.

Here, "halitza", as it's called, is nothing romantic and cute. There is no civil marriage, so if a Jewish widow wants to remarry, she MUST have it from her bro-in-law. This has been problematic when 1) the dead husband leaves a brother under the age of thirteen or 2) brother-in-law knows that charging her for doing giving it to her or 3) dead husbands family just wants to deny her the possibility of remarriage to be mean.

I know a fellow that wanted to marry a widow, but her late husbands family were asking for an astronomical price to set her free, so they went to Cyprus to marry.

We have the Hallmark channel, so I hope it eventually gets here.
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10/10
A good film to accompany a class in American Literature, History or Popular Culture
12 April 2008
I first heard of the book this film is based on in 1977 (eeeps!) when I was studying American Literature. My prof recommended it when we were doing Hawthorne, I think.

Despite finding the idea fascinating, when I had the chance to buy the book a couple of years later, I freaked out when browsing it, and tossed it like a hot potato. To what became my eternal regret.

The film beautifully fills in the gaps of what small town American was like at the turn between the 19th and 20th century, a period which when I was growing up in NY (graduating class of '72) been idealized, as a simpler, cleaner, purer and happier time.
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Loved this movie!
23 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Then again, I was only 10, and home sick from school.

Burlesque Star, read, Exotic Dancer wants for some obscure reason, a college education. She's obviously making more dough now than she will with a BA, but never mind, she's got a heart of gold, and a yen for knowledge.

Knowing what we know about the then future, and now late President, it's really ironic that he was so good about defending the rights of "shady lady." My favorite scene, in fact, was when he told the board of tight butts who wanted to kick her out of school, how she worked her way through high school too, getting up early to prepare food in the cafeteria. Corny, but it worked on me.

Anyway, I don't usually like made-for-film musicals either, but I thought that this was sweet and fun, well acted and a fine way to pass a couple of hours.
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10/10
I can't recommend this movie too much
16 October 2005
I think this is the finest movie made about the Holocaust, bar none. It is totally free of sentiment, and that is exactly what makes it so moving.

It is especially important as it tells of the Sephardic Holocaust, which has gone all to unnoticed among the better know story of the "Western" Jews.

Personally, I also was glad that this film had a secular point of view, as very often on is left with the impression that the only Jews who died were religious, which is of course not true. In fact, because of this it took a while before this film was shown with other programs in Israel on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Very recommended.
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Jane Eyre (1983)
10/10
Absolutely best and definitive take
25 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!!!!!!1 I read Jane Eyre for the first time in 8th grade, and they taught it as kind of a moral romance. Jane suffers, settles into a happy life, makes a hard decision, suffers some more, and in the end is rewarded for it. Religion and romance. The end.

Later, I realized that there is very little romantic about this book, it is about MONEY and position. Oh sure, there is love, but romance? CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!!!!! Jane is the poor and plain (it was very important for Bronte to make Jane plain, she said she was proud of creating the first plain heroine in literature) and unwanted. She is told that repeatedly by the aunt who took her in (shades of Harry Potter!), and dumped at the first opportunity.

Becoming a governess, she hears the rich women at the house party mock governesses, a theme in other works by both Anne and Charlotte Bronte.

What I liked most about this version SPOILER, SPOILER, SPOILER! is they show Jane becoming wealthy, something that up until then, had always been left out of the story, because they wanted Jane to come back to Rochester out of romantic love, and not as an equal.

In fact, my favorite line from the book (actually only adapted, and not quoted here) is when she offers the coachman "twice his regular fee" to get her to Rochester quickly. Think of it. Has a woman ever said that before? I don't think so.

Yes, I like the relationship between J + R, but the important thing is that Jane is no wimp, even her morality is her own, sincere, morality, not the hypocrisy of Lowood.

A fine, fine, feminist work and a near perfect adaptation.
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A fun film and a special viewing that bridged generations and cultures
15 May 2005
I saw this film a number of years ago at a gay film festival at the Tel-Aviv Cinemateque. I knew that it existed -- I think there must have been a credit for it at the end of the Julie Andrews film and just ran to see it while I had the opportunity. The audience seemed to be evenly divided between the gay lesbian community and German/Austrian old timers.

Everyone seemed to have a really good time, despite the poor quality of the copy and the lack of Hebrew subtitles. And, it was quite delightful to overhear two elderly ladies talking about how "Mama" wouldn't let them see the movie when it first came out, and here the were seeing it today!
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Campfire (2004)
Agree with Pro-Musar
31 March 2005
I think people either love or hate this movie, and their politics will have an influence, of course.

The movie shows the less than pretty side of the settler movement and the national religious wing -- the sexism, the hostility toward anyone that doesn't fit the exact mold (even if they support the movement politically), the racism.

The heroine who thinks that going off to a settlement in the occupied territories is - surprise, surprise! - shocked to discover that as a woman without a man, getting accepted will be an uphill struggle (they tell her straight out they need men for not only defense, but prayer quorums, as women don't count there). The near rape of the younger daughter is by nationalistic religious boys who are on the outskirts of their own movement because of their dark skin (the very fundamentalist Shas movement is the result of this discrimination within the religious community, but that's another story).

Of course the religious/settlement people will hate this movie. The people responsible for sending it out of the country will probably be called traitors (and I wouldn't be surprised if there are death threats) for showing the warty side of the settlers among themselves, never mind towards the Palestinians.

Gaon is sure a hoot in his role -- by the way, in real life he is rather center left.
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10/10
I agree, best Thanksgiving movie ever
13 March 2005
I am so glad that I decided to plonk down a couple of dollars and see this movie on Pay for Play the other night. I wasn't sure what to expect, and I had one of the nicest movie surprises I had in a long time.

April is a the black sheep of her family, but as Rita Mae Brown wrote in one of her better novels to describe a character, has golden hooves. She's gone off from the hills of, what is filmed anyway, in upstate New York to lower Manhattan. But she's no That Girl. Her previous boyfriend was a drug dealer, and her current fellow, gets his clothing at less than wholesale prices.

She has a mixed bag dysfunctional family, the star of which is the kind of little sister you wish you had sent out to play in traffic when you had a chance, that she is trying to reconnect with. April is too good for this bunch, as she tries to prepare the all American Thanksgiving dinner in her own special way for this undeserving bunch.

It is so touching to see her, finally succeeding (maybe) in her quest for a stove making favors, and decorating the stairway, all 4-5 floors with autumn colored streamers, etc.

I just wanted to hug her!
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Henry VIII (2003 TV Movie)
1/10
Worse telling of the story I ever saw - bloody awful!
18 January 2005
I can accept inaccuracies and speculations when so many years of history are crammed into a two part mini-series type telling, but Katherine's hair shirt, Anne's stillborn son being born as a result of marital rape, Jane's going into early labor as a result of an argument,and the Catherine (the second one) exposing herself in the tub? Give me a break!

The acting was excellent, the costumes and sets beautiful, but it was far too inaccurate and speculative to tolerate.

The classic _Six Wives of Henry VII_ certainly wasn't accurate either, but it sure was fun!

The 1971 BBC miniseries will always be the definitive one for me.
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Loved this Movie!!!
7 September 2004
I absolutely loved this movie to pieces! Having grown up in the United States, and having seen junior high school and high school cheerleaders in action, I found it a total hoot. It was sweet revenge for every nasty remark that cheerleaders had made about all us outside types back then.

The original case actually made it to the newspapers here, which is pretty remarkable considering all the local stuff that has to be covered.

Since Texas is playing such an important part in the coming US elections, I suppose it'll wind up on late night TV quite a lot in the next couple of months!
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Play for Today: Rainy Day Women (1984)
Season 14, Episode 9
10/10
Misogyny
5 September 2004
I saw this film on television in 1986. To saw that it portrays the "cruelty of war" is not quite exact. It portrays (some) men's hate of women from the first to the last.

Women who are already living in, and have come to a small English village, to help the war effort in WWII create resentment among the men who have been exempt from service for various reasons and left behind. The men can only deal with their not having an opportunity to "serve their country" and jealousy of women who can by resorting to violence.

I think, although I hope not, that this was based on something that really happened.

Chilling, even when I think of it almost 20 years later.
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A lot of stuff going on here
5 September 2004
Charlie Ve'hetzi is sort of a cult film in Israel, for its portrayal of working class Israeli Jews from Arab countries. Working class isn't the exact term, because the main character, Charlie, lets his mother support him while he keeps the money he makes by cheating suckers with a three card scam. Hetzi is a street kid who would rather spend the day with Charlie than go to school (his put upon sister who is raising him isn't having a lot of success).

Charlie has managed to get himself a very rich, fantasy type rich, blonde girlfriend of European roots, and he's portrayed as a great guy, while all the European Jews are vicious exploiters.

It's a very odd film because it sends messages in all directions. Women come off very badly -- Hetzi's sister is harassed by her employer (I think it's a factory) but this is shown as a matter of fact, not as anything particularly wrong. Charlie's girlfriend is a real valley girl type, his mother serves him with a, "well, he's my boy" kind of attitude.

The film is widely discussed in film and ethnic studies here.
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