Two remarkable films about Jewish history and culture

Two remarkable films about Jewish history and culture
Still image from The Ancient Law

Coming up in January the Cinema Arts Centre will be holding two events geared towards the Jewish community and Jewish history.

On Jan. 6 the Cinema Arts Centre will be holding a special screening the academy award winning film Anne Frank Remembered featuring Gillian Walnes Perry, the author of “The Legacy of Anne Frank”

On Jan. 30, the Cinema Arts Centre will be holding a special screening of an early 1923 Jewish silent film, The Ancient Law. The screening with feature a live original score by violinist Alicia Svigalis, one of the founders of the Klezmatics, and acclaimed silent film pianist Donald Sosin.

$11 Members | $16 Public
Sunday, January 6 Bagels 10 AM, Film 11 AM
Discussion with Special Guest, Gillian Walnes Perry, MBE, author of The Legacy of Anne Frank

Join author Gillian Walnes Perry for this special Sunday Schmooze, with a timely screening of the groundbreaking, Academy Award-winning documentary she commissioned, providing the first comprehensive portrait of the charming and free-spirited Anne Frank – perhaps the world’s most famous Holocaust victim and gifted diarist.

“Anne Frank Remembered” is a groundbreaking documentary inspired partly by the discovery of the only brief film footage of Anne Frank that exists.

Featuring the voices of Glenn Close and Kenneth Branagh, this Academy Award-winning film combines photographs and previously undiscovered family letters, rare archival footage, along with insightful and moving interviews with people who knew the Franks best – most notably Miep Gies, who risked her own life to help shelter them.

The film is particularly compelling today, given the rise of the far right and the alarming resurgence of anti-Semitism worldwide. (USA, UK, Netherlands, 1995, 117 Mins., NR, English | Dir. Jon Blair)

In The Legacy of Anne Frank, Gillian Walnes Perry describes how education about Anne Frank has helped shape the lives of young people in some of the most violent and turbulent regions of the world over the past 30 years – as well as such global icons as Nelson Mandela and Audrey Hepburn – breaking down barriers of prejudice and suspicion. She relates the story as an insider who worked closely with the subject matter for over 26 years and has had the privilege of spending time with many people who knew Anne and Otto Frank personally.

Co- Founder of the Anne Frank Trust UK, Gillian Walnes Perry, MBE, was instrumental in the creation of Anne Frank Remembered, and was in attendance when it won the Academy Award in 1996. She has lectured worldwide, from 10 Downing Street and the British Film Institute to the United Nations, and from Hong Kong to South Africa. Among other notables, she worked closely with Audrey Hepburn, one of the AF Trust’s first patrons. In 2010 Gillian was named a Member of the Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth for her educational accomplishments, and was invited to share her insights at the White House with First Lady Michelle Obama’s Director of Policy in April 2016

Wednesday, Jan. 30 at 7:30 p.m.
$11 Members | $16 Public
With live original score by violinist Alicia Svigalis, co-founder of the Klezmatics, and acclaimed silent film pianist Donald Sosin

The Ancient Law is a rarely seen Jewish silent film from Weimar Era Germany that tells the dramatic story of Baruch, a young shtetl Jew and the son of a Rabbi, who leaves his family and community, seeking a secular career as a stage actor.

Set in Galicia in the 1860s, Baruch is a Rabbi’s son from the shtetl who leaves home to become a famous Shakespearean actor and is disowned by his father. Baruch joins a small burlesque troupe and is discovered by an Austrian archduchess who introduces him to the director of the most important Theater in Vienna, the Burgtheater. Baruch receives a contract there and becomes more and more an assimilated Jew. But Baruch continues to long for home and must find a way to reconcile his religious heritage with his love of secular literature.

The film paints a complex portrait of the tension between tradition and modernity. The Ancient Law is considered an important historical German and Jewish cinematic production recreating the introverted world of the Eastern European shtetl, contrasted with Vienna of the 1860s and speaks to Jewish assimilation in Europe in the 1800s.

In one memorable scene, Baruch takes a scissors to his sidelocks—his payos—to cross a symbolic bridge into the secular world. The film also features wonderful scenes depicting shtetl life. (Germany, 1923, 135 mins, NR, Silent with English Intertitles| Dir. E.A DuPont)

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