The Jewy best of NY’s 2015 Tribeca film festival

TFF15_MarqueeImage-300dpi-965x543Top picks include films about a philosophy prof’s family, a bull fighter’s near misses, and a documentary about two sons of Nazis confronting their parents’ past

By Jordan Hoffman

NEW YORK — The 14th annual Tribeca Film Festival has wrapped up and, as usual, there’s an ambivalent taste in my mouth. It’s great to see Instagram hashtags from friends at fab parties, but when you get past the cocktails and special events, you are left with the films.

Situated in the calendar after Sundance, Berlin and Austin’s South By Southwest, and not far before Cannes, Tribeca remains something of a “safety school” for movie debuts. I saw over a dozen films and, quite frankly, I only liked four of them.
Three of those four happen to come from Jewish filmmakers, and I swear this isn’t just confirmation bias, or rooting for “our side.” (One director, I didn’t even know was Jewish until after I saw the film.) As of right now, none of these projects are coming to a theater near you, though keep your eyes and ears open for eventual announcement for theatrical distribution or cable/VOD runs.

“Anesthesia,” from writer-director Jewish-American Tim Blake Nelson, feels if the “Crash” were to mate with Ingmar Bergman somewhere in Woody Allen’s New York. It opens with a violent incident, Sam Waterston bleeding and crying for help in a walk-up apartment doorway, and then jumps back in time a few days. We are introduced to a number of characters that seem to have no connection, and then, slowly, we see how they do eventually fit together.

They converge at that gruesome moment of urban violence but, of course, their individual conflicts are meant to mirror society’s larger ethical struggles. Lucky for us, Waterston, essentially the primary figure in this tapestry, is a retiring philosophy professor at Columbia University, so busting out into weighty monologues is par for the (full credit) course.
Read Entire Story in the Times of Israel

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