`Taking Sides' premieres at festival

Weinberg series begins April 1

March 17, 2004|By Michael Sragow

The William and Irene Weinberg Family Jewish Film Festival opens its 16th season at 7:30 p.m. April 1 with the Baltimore premiere of Taking Sides, Iszvan Szabo's film of Ronald Harwood's play about conductor Wilhelm Furtwangler (Stellan Skarsgard) and the U.S. Army prosecutor (Harvey Keitel) who interrogates him about his work in Germany under the Nazis.

Murry Sidlin, the dean of music at Catholic University, will be the guest speaker on April 1; artist Jay Wolf Schlossberg-Cohen will dissect the movie when it screens again at 3 p.m. April 4.

April 3 brings Kinky Friedman: Proud to Be an [Expletive] From El Paso, a documentary about the country-singing front man for a group called the Texas Jewboys (and Texas gubernatorial candidate). Singer Adam Brodsky supplements the 9:15 p.m. movie with a live performance.

James' Journey to Jerusalem (7:30 p.m. April 8) follows an African pastor whose mission to the Holy Land gets disrupted when he's jailed as an illegal laborer. Johns Hopkins' Ariel Elan Roth will discuss the film.

The April 10 attraction, at 9:15 p.m., is a Canadian suspense comedy, The Burial Society, about a bank loan manager hiding out from mobsters with a Chevrah Kadisha (the group that prepares bodies for burial).

Pavel Lounguine's Tycoon: A New Russian, a fictional film inspired by that Russian master capitalist Boris Berezovsky, will be shown at 7:30 p.m. April 15. Mark Levin, the executive director of the National Conference of Soviet Jewry, will analyze it on the 15th; Will Englund, Sun associate editor and former Moscow correspondent, takes over the analysis when the film repeats at 7:30 p.m. April 20.

The troubling protagonist of the documentary Prisoner of Paradise is Kurt Gerron, a German-Jewish actor and director (he appeared in The Blue Angel) who was sent to the Teresienstadt concentration camp, where he was commanded to create a Nazi propaganda film. The co-director of Prisoner of Paradise, Stuart Sender, presents the film in person at 9:15 p.m. April 17.

Germany's leading female director, Margarethe von Trotta, contributes Rosenstrasse, which tells the factual story of Aryan women who in 1943, outside the Jewish Community Center in Berlin, protested the detention and planned transport of their Jewish husbands - and shamed the Nazis into releasing them. The movie screens at 7:30 p.m. April 22.

The French comedy You Shouldn't Worry, 9:30 p.m. April 24, depicts captains of the Jewish garment industry in Paris taking on the monolithic company "Euro Discount." Professor Larry Mintz of the University of Maryland College Park will be the guest speaker.

The festival closes with Miss Entebbe (7 p.m. April 25), the tale of a 13-year-old girl who engineers the kidnapping of a young Palestinian boy in hopes of exchanging him for the Air France hostages during the Entebbe hijack crisis. Ken Moss, Johns Hopkins' professor of modern Jewish history, will introduce the film.

Tickets for all screenings are $8, available in advance at the Weinberg Park Heights JCC or the Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC. Films screen at the Gordon Center for Performing Arts, 3506 Gwynnbrook Ave., Owings Mills. For more information, call Claudine Davison at 410-542-4900, Ext. 239.

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