A Jewish flavour on the movie front

  • Peter
Cosmetics magnate Ronald S Lauder is expected in South Africa later this month as guest at the SA Jewish Board of Deputies conference - and he has a link with the critically-acclaimed Hollywood film, Woman in Gold.
by PETER FELDMAN | Nov 11, 2015

Adele Bloch-Bauer sat for artist Gustav Klimt when he did her portrait in 1907. The film centres on the restitution battle for this dazzling, gold-flecked portrait between the Austrian government and Maria Altmann, (Helen Mirren), who was the niece of Bloch-Bauer. She argued that it was seized along with four other Klimt paintings by the Nazis during the Second World War.

Lauder, who is reported to have loved Adele’s face from childhood, happily paid $135 million to enshrine her in his Neue Galerie in Manhattan. After a lengthy run on the cinema circuit, the film is now available on DVD.

Steven Spielberg, one of the world’s most famous Jewish film directors, doesn’t get into the director’s chair often. Notably he directed Munich and the Oscar-winning Schindler’s List, among many and launched the USC Shoah Foundation.

He now comes to the fore with highly-acclaimed Bridge of Spies, demonstrating again what a master storyteller he is. It is a riveting, true-to- life saga set during the Cold War.

When American authorities in the 50s arrest Soviet agent Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance) on a charge of espionage, they approach an insurance attorney, James Donovan (Tom Hanks), with no prior experience, to defend Abel.

In a parallel storyline, CIA pilot Gary Powers (Austin Stowell), who commands a US spy plane on a mission over Soviet territory, is shot down and captured. The film deals with the intricate negotiations involved in orchestrating a spy transfer between Abel and Powers - an involving cinematic experience.

Paul Weitz is another Jewish name in Hollywood, a writer, producer and director whose latest offering, Grandma, features Lily Tomlin, one of America’s best comedy actresses. She plays Elle, an acerbic, funny, foul-mouthed, free-spirited lesbian who lifts the spirits in every scene.

Elle is a poet who reached her creative powers during the flower child days and she has been unable to re-energise herself. One day there is a knock at the door and she is confronted by her angelic, unfocused granddaughter Sage (Julia Garner) who announces that she is pregnant and needs money for an abortion. 

So begins an uplifting, immensely entertaining romp as Elle and Sage undertake a somewhat contrived road trip for cash. 


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