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It’s all new and coming to you!

Still feeling Like Winnie-The-pooh stuck in a rabbit hole? this will keep you going until we get ‘out out’

Brigit Grant is the Jewish News Supplements Editor

Into the Darkness,
Into the Darkness,

Into the Light

As editor and assistant director to one of Denmark’s most lionised film-makers, it should have been easy for Anders Refn to get a film green-lit.

Yet Anders, who shared Lars Von Trier’s Palme d’Or at Cannes for Dancer in the Dark , struggled to get support for his two-part film, Into the Darkness, which focuses on a Danish industrialist profiting from the German occupation of Denmark.

“There have been many films about the rescuing of the Jews, but very little about Danish collaboration, which is a taboo subject few are willing to discuss,” says Anders, who felt the opening of archives in his homeland made such a production timely.

“Our films are about the brave Danish heroes from the last part of the war when people fought against the Germans once they knew they would lose. In the beginning it was much more complicated, and my film shows how the Danish police chased the resistance fighters and sent some Jewish refugees back to Germany. 

“There were also Danes who joined the SS with the approval of the government to satisfy Hitler. This is fascinating and it’s never been told on screen before in Denmark.”

Into the Darkness is available at www.ukjewishfilm.org/ondemand

Humming Diana 

Jeanna de Waal wanted Princes William and Harry to see Diana: A True Musical Story in which she plays the title role. Sadly, theatres remaining closed is not the only reason this won’t happen, but they will be able to see it on Netflix ahead of it opening on Broadway in May. Created by Bon Jovi’s Jewish keyboard player David Bryan and his Memphis musical collaborator Joe DiPietro, there are songs with such catchy titles as Here Comes James Hewitt. No doubt a certain couple will enjoy a rendition of Only The Monarchy is on the Line once they know the words.

Jeanna de Waal

Open on Closed 

Strictly-Orthodox Jews living in Israel are ordered not to even look at Independence Day fireworks. How they respond to this and to other anti-Zionist mandates that prevent them from participating fully in the country where they live is revealed in Haredim, a fascinating three-part documentary series directed by Ron Ofer and Dr Yohai Hakak. From mass anti-Israel demonstrations to the struggle faced by Charedi women raising large families in poverty while their husbands study Torah, this is an eye-opening study of a closed community. 

Haredim is available on www.streamisrael.tv

Perfect Threesome?

Woody Allen, Dustin Hoffman and Bob Dylan have yet to star in anything together, but uniting all three in a play is the aim of the protagonist in
Jared M Feldschreiber’s debut novella, Reckless Abandon. 

“There is some cosmic thing going on that almost unites them, but the force of their distinct natures has kept them apart,” suggests Feldschreiber, an Allen devotee who has hung around film sets hoping to meet his hero. 

READ Life Magazine

The book’s hero sets about his challenge in 1980s New York, surrounded by the arts, entertainment and sport of the time, as well as meeting such characters as Irving Mitchell Felt, the Jewish businessman who constructed the new Madison Square Garden. 

At the book’s core is the writer’s belief that the director, actor and musician belong together. “I’ve often marvelled that all three were often ever so close to working together and even reference each other, such as in Annie Hall when Allen’s character, Alvy Singer, looks annoyed when his date (Shelley Duvall) describes a Dylan show as ‘transplendent’. But I’m most interested in these men because they are shapeshifters, and their theatrical expressions have helped to reflect our world in the past 60 years.” 

All three have been sent the novella, so it could still happen.

Reckless Abandon is available at amazon.com

Curtain Up

With fingers crossed and touching wood, 17 May will hopefully see the opening of many theatres across the country. Our good wishes for curtain up go to producers Kenny Wax, Nica Burns, Sonia Friedman and Nicholas Hytner, along with all those on stage and behind the scenes. Book your
tickets and support the industry by getting a ticket for The Show Must Go On! concerts (2-6 June) at the Palace Theatre as all profits go to Acting For Others and The Fleabag Support Fund. Shows involved in the concert are likely to include Dear Evan Hansen, Tina, The Prince of Egypt, Mamma Mia!
and Les Misérables. And if you can’t go, buy a mask. 

www.theatresupportfund.co.uk 

Wear to Watch

In a previous issue of Life, readers were asked to share stories about memorable clothing still in their closets. Across the pond author Emily Spivack had been doing the same since 2010 and the tales of togs belonging to artists, Holocaust survivors, writers, hip-hop legends and fashion designers appeared in her New York Times bestseller Worn Stories and its follow-up Worn in New York. “We all have a memoir in miniature living in a garment we’ve worn,” says Emily, which is now the sell line for the Netflix eight-part series inspired by her book that starts on 1 April. Funny, tragic, poignant and celebratory, each episode is a mix of interviews, animation and archive footage, which brings to life the stories about humans and the stuff they wear. 

 

Bridgerton Too Far 

Just the sight of Regé-Jean Page in a cutaway coat and breeches induces a collective sigh. As Bridgerton’s Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings, the actor set hearts aflutter across the globe in the Netflix series based on the books by Jewish author Julia Quinn. With 63 million households tuning in, the producers didn’t hit pause before embarking on a second season but, with four more books in the Bridgerton boxset, why wait? There are no Jewish characters in the Gossip Girl-styled Regency drama or actors, despite Queen Charlotte being played by Golda Rosheuvel. This is not an issue as Jews were in short supply in Regency London, but that didn’t stop Soviet-Jewish author Alina Adams from writing The Fictitious Marquis some 25 years ago and centring it around Lady Julia Highsmith, a woman of high birth who hides a secret about her mother’s religious background. Set around 1811, the story that sees her save a criminal from the gallows and pass him off as her husband is perfect post-Bridgerton material for TV and it’s high time Jewish period romances were part of the mainstream, even when fictitious.

The Fictitious Marquis is available on Amazon.

Bridgerton

Comer Again 

After Killing Eve, Jodie Comer just had to wait for American film offers to roll in, first from JJ Abrams, who cast her as Rey’s mother in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and now as Molotov Girl in the May release Free Guy directed by Canada’s Shawn Levy. Expect good things from this Netflix sci-fi as Levy exec produced and directed Stranger Things and the cast includes Maori/Jewish talent Taika Waititi (aka Taika Cohen) who dared to make Hitler hilarious in his own film, JoJo Rabbit. 

Fully Framed 

Following a career in design, Barbara J Lewis went to live in Florence for five years to study fine art full time. Returning to her Belsize Park home, Barbara continued creating still life, portraits and copies of Masters as a full-time pursuit, but then lockdown struck and took away her life models. Rather than let her paints dry, she has created new celebrity canvases every week through Sky Art Portrait of the Week and now, as the climate improves, is ready to take commissions from those who wish to be immortalised by an artist who trained in the same city as da Vinci and Michelangelo. Now that’s a reference!

 Barbara Jo Lewis Art

 

Help perform the greatest mitzvah: save a life

While life in Israel has returned to normal and hopes are high that Britain is set for a summer without restrictions thanks to vaccines, for billions around the world there is no such imminent light at the end of the tunnel. In the majority of countries around the globe, particularly the poorest, the vaccine rollout has barely kicked off.

That's why Jewish News, the leading source of news and opinion for the entire UK community, is throwing its full weight behind UNICEF’s VaccinAid campaign by using this platform usually reserved for encouraging donations towards our own journalism to instead urge our readers around the globe to perform the greatest mitzvah: saving a life.

We have never before done this for any charity fundraiser but it's hard to recall a campaign that affects so many people, and indeed an entire planet aching for a return to normality. Just like the Chief Rabbi and Rachel Riley, we hope to boost the mission to deliver two billion vaccines, 165 million treatments and 900 million test kits around the world by the end of this year.

Please donate as much as you can, in the spirit of the Talmudic sages: “to save one life is to save the world entire”

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