Dennis Harvey

Complete interview: "Between Two Worlds" directors Deborah Kaufman and Alan Snitow

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In 1981 Deborah Kaufman founded the nation's first Jewish Film Festival in San Francisco. Thirteen years later, with similar festivals burgeoning in the wake of SFJFF's success — there are now over a hundred around the globe — she left the festival to make documentaries of her own with life partner and veteran local TV producer Alan Snitow.

Their latest, Between Two Worlds, which opens at the Roxie Fri/5 while playing festival dates, could hardly be a more personal project for the duo. Both longtime activists in various Jewish, political, and media spheres, Snitow and Kaufman were struck — as were plenty of others — by the rancor that erupted over the SFJFF's 2009 screening of Simone Bitton's Rachel. That doc was about Rachel Corrie, a young American International Solidarity Movement member killed in 2003 by an Israeli Defense Forces bulldozer while standing between it and a Palestinian home on the Gaza Strip.

As different sides argued whether Corrie's death was accidental or deliberate, she became a lightning rod for ever-escalating tensions between positions within and without the U.S. Jewish populace on Israeli policy, settlements, Palestinian rights, and more — with not a few commentators amplifying the conservative notion that any criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic, even (or especially) when it comes from Jews themselves.

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Whose voice?

Deborah Kaufman and Alan Snitow explore how American Jews view Israel in Between Two Worlds

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arts@sfbg.com

FILM In 1981 Deborah Kaufman founded the nation's first Jewish Film Festival in San Francisco. Thirteen years later, with similar festivals burgeoning in the wake of SFJFF's success — there are now over a hundred around the globe — she left the festival to make documentaries of her own with life partner and veteran local TV producer Alan Snitow.Read more »

Time served

Crime After Crime takes a sobering look at the justice system

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FILM In 1983, Deborah Peagler was sentenced to 25 years to life for first-degree murder in the death of her former boyfriend Oliver Wilson, whom two local L.A. gang members had strangled — supposedly at her behest, to access Wilson's life insurance money.Read more »

To Hellman and back

The cult director comes to town with his latest, plus some of his greatest

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FILM "Legendary" is a term often applied to artists distinguished by either ubiquity or scarcity. Monte Hellman definitely falls in the second camp — nearly 80, he's just made his first feature in 22 years, causing a flurry of interest in the sparse 10 he made during the prior three decades he was, relatively speaking, active — movies hardly anyone saw when they came out since none were more than a blip on the commercial radar.Read more »

Black and white and red all over

The San Francisco Silent Film Festival unearths a USSR classic

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Mikhail Kalatozov's career had a large hole in the middle, one that remains incompletely explained. Why were the two periods of his greatest work separated by roughly three decades? Why did he make almost nothing between? The answer definitely involved Stalin and his fickle cultural watchdogs, even if the full reason for such a long lull (or fall from favor) might never be known.Read more »

TV party

It could happen: 1972 TV movie The Man, playing at the Vortex Room, imagines -- gasp -- a black president

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TRASH These days we're used to TV series regularly offering better, more serious, and more relevant drama than mainstream movies, a notion unthinkable not long ago. But even at the height of boob tube silliness, when zero cable alternatives and FCC strictures resulted in mostly bland programming, there was some room for deviation from formula. That room was primarily occupied by TV movies, which began being produced in 1964. Read more »

The nonconformist

A retrospective (of new prints!) traces Bernardo Bertolucci's 50-year career

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Down Mexico way

Noir series "Going South" finds dark stories under sunny skies

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Heroes and hoedowns

Spotlight on homegrown docs and narratives

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arts@sfbg.com

FRAMELINE This year's Bay Area-centric Frameline features run a thematic and identification gamut appropriate to the festival's ever-inclusive programming. Several are celebrations of local LGBT heroines and heroines, some recently deceased and some still-with-us.Read more »

Wheel in the sky keeps on turnin'

Italian docu-essay Le Quattro Volte out-Malicks Malick
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