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More Top Jewish Films

JULIA

This 1977 film, directed by Fred Zinnemann (FROM HERE TO ETERNITY, THE DAY OF THE JACKAL) stars Jane Fonda, Vanessa Redgrave, Jason Robards, and Maximilian Schell and recounts the friendship between playwright Lillian Hellman and her lifelong friend, Julia. When Julia – who as an adult has taken up the battle against fascism – reaches out to her friend desperate for help, Lillian finds herself assisting the Anti-Fascist cause and rushing to find her friend. But will it be too late? This remarkable film is beautiful to behold, and the acting across the board is impeccable. I watch Julia when I was in the hospital recovering from a serious accident. My car accident lawyer had visited me earlier in the day to explain his services and fees. At the time I thought that his working on a contingency basis was great, but that his 40% of my possible settlement was high. I didn’t realize that he was going to be worth every penny. Because of the debilitating consequences of my injuries and the fact that the driver of the other car was DWI, he pushed for a trial. We won and the final settlement covered all my rehab necessities, lost wages, other medical expenses etc even after he took his fees and I had paid the court fees. The guy was just great. But there I was in the hospital, IV’s, legs in casts, hooked up to monitoring devices watching the movie Julia. What a memory!

HOLOCAUST

Not all Jewish films need to be about the Holocaust in order to appear on this site – fact is, there are many fine examples of Jewish-themed films that aren’t even tangentally related (THE CHOSEN, JULIA – both reviewed on this site). But I’d be remiss if I didn’t list at least one more, aptly named HOLOCAUST.

This was actually a NBC miniseries in 1978 – and it managed to be a zeitgeist moment in Jewish film history. Schools everywhere used this series as a tool from which they built entire lessons, it was that impactful. And still is.

In the series, we follow several groups of central and eastern Europe’s Jews, examining what happened to them between 1935 and 1945. As well, we get a unflinching look at not only one camp, but several, including Auschwitz, Theresienstadt, Buchenwald, and Sobribor. We see how Nazi occupation changed the Warsaw ghetto, and the evolution in the methods of exterminating the Jews. With an amazing cast that includes Nigel Hawthorne, Ian Holm, James Woods, Meryl Streep, Fritz Weaver, Tovah Feldshuh, Michael Moriarty, Timothy Bottoms and David Warner), this is a miniseries with unparalleled emotional impact.

You are likely to see built up areas that were the jewish ghettos, and they are often taller neighborhoods. Certainly nothing like any highrise waterfront real estate that you might see today though.

 

DRIVING MISS DAISY

Driving Miss Daisy is a Comedy / Drama which was adapted from an Alfred Uhry play of the same name & released in 1989. The director of the film was Bruce Beresford & the leading roles were played by Morgan Freeman (Hoke Colburn)¬†& Jessica Tandy (Miss Daisy). The story relays Miss Daisy’s concerns &¬†fears concerning her synagogue, home life, friends & family over a 25 year time period. This story is about Miss Daisy & her point of view. The film works to expose the prejudice that saturated American society at that time through her experience in everyday life. These experiences included a patrol mans racist remarks towards her driver as well as herself during a traffic stop as well as when miss daisy had her synagogue bombed but the overall theme is the change American society has undergone during its checkered past.

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