By Susan Kandell Wilkofsky
Stuck at home practicing social distancing? Of course you are! That doesn’t mean you can’t turn on the television a bit more then usual – OK, a lot more than usual. I have a few suggestions for you. …
If you’re a member of Amazon Prime, you’re in luck! Besides delivering anything-that-you-can-think-of delivered to your door in a matter hours, they also deliver quality programming in a blink of the eye, or in the time it takes for you to find a comfy seat and the remote.
“Hunters” is an action drama set in New York in 1977. The title refers to a group of Nazi hunters who pursue war criminals who escaped to North America. Holocaust survivor, Meyer Offerman (Al Pacino with a heavy Yiddish accent), discovers that former Nazi officials are not only living in their community, they have plans to create the Fourth Reich in the United States. Oy! He enlists the help of an eclectic team consisting of Holocaust survivors (Saul Rubinek and Carol Kane), a Black Panther activist, a nun, a Vietnam veteran and others. They are joined by a teenager (Logan Lerman), raised by his grandmother (Jeannie Berlin), who is a survivor of the Holocaust. The vigilantes embark on quest to hunt down Nazis and bring them to justice … or is it revenge?
The 10 episodes are a mix of comedy and drama fused with pop culture and the horror of the Holocaust which is presented in sobering flashbacks.
The series is not everyone’s cup of tea; the violence and blood (think Quentin Tarantino) is presented with a dose of revisionism has its detractors.
Overall, “Hunters” is a fascinating series populated by terrific characters, a spectacular cast, flawless soundtrack and an unthinkable premise.
Time to change channels to HBO, where you’ll find “The Plot Against America,” a six-episode adaptation of Philip Roth’s novel of the same name. It asks the question, “What if Charles Lindbergh was elected president of the United States instead of Roosevelt during World War II?” It’s an alternate view of American history told through the eyes of a working-class Jewish family living in New Jersey.
Has rewriting history become a trend? The difference between “Hunters” and “The Plot Against America” is the startling realism. Filmed on location in Jersey City (including the Beth-El Synagogue), Washington and New York City, it’s easy to be absorbed by the everyday life of the Jewish family. David Simon and Ed Burns (“The Wire“) amassed a stellar cast including John Turturro (as a southern Rabbi), Winona Ryder, Zoe Kazan and Azhy Robertson as Philip.
Switching channels again, this time to Netflix, the subscription streaming entertainment service
where you can watch feature films, television series and documentaries to your hearts content. And although I haven’t watched this show (it’s premiering April 1), I thought I would bring attention to an entertainer from the Dallas community. “The Iliza Shlesinger Sketch Show“ is starring Iliza Shlesinger (natch!) in her fifth Netflix special. If the trailer is any indication, get ready to laugh! And isn’t that what we all really need at this moment?
The six-part sketch comedy show is promising to regale us with satire and comedy, highlighting zany characters and dogs. Yes, she’s a dog lover and I expect to see them featured in more then one skit.
The fact that it began streaming on April Fool’s Day adds to its cache.
Check it out!
Starting Thursday night, the Dallas VideoFest is bringing the show to you.
Many of you know that 3 Stars Jewish Cinema’s artistic director, Bart Weiss is also the founder of the Video Association of Dallas. The VAD is presenting the Dallas VideoFest’s Alternative Fiction Festival which will offer a FREE Alternative Festival online!
Movie lovers can go online and watch great films at specific times. Just like traditional film festivals, there will be questions and answers and intros to the films from hosts and from the filmmakers, but these will be done on video. Audiences will be able to ask questions of the filmmakers and have them answered in real time. See the How-to-Fest instructions in the sidebar on page 12.
There are two fabulous shorts of interest to the Jewish community:
“Mum’s Hairpins” directed by Tatiana Fedorovskaya
This haunting, award-winning short takes place in the Ukraine which is under siege from Nazi invaders; the year is 1941. It is the true story of the director’s grandfather, Yasha who must flee his home as a child and forms a touching friendship with a wounded goat. As he runs away, in his hands is the only thing left from his family – a box of his mother’s hairpins. The music is compelling (Rachmaninov and Yiddish lullabies) and the cinematography is simply stunning.
“Mum’s Hairpins” is presented in Yiddish with English subtitles and is 20 minutes long.
“Asa Turns 13” directed by Sali Elimelech.
This coming of age story takes place in a small town in Israel.
Living with his father, Asa awakens to the day before the ceremony that turns him from a boy to a man. His father’s expectations and societal pressures take its toll on Asa. He must find his way on his own.
Asa Turns 13 is presented in Hebrew with English subtitles and runs 30 minutes long.
Both will be presented at 4 p.m., Sunday, April 5.
But don’t stop there. Check out all the other wonderful films beside the two recommended above. Everything you need to know is presented in the box on oage 12.
By Susan Kandell Wilkofsky