Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Red Carpet Ready

This blog comes from Gabriel Sanders, who, like Cupid, hopes to entice you with his offerings.

With the Grammys behind us, it’s time to turn to the next big event of the award season – the biggest of them all: the Oscars.

And, as you can see from our newly-released March-April calendar, we have celluloid on the brain.

Over a half-week in mid-March we’re planning to unspool three films devoted to chronicling the Welsh-Jewish experience, a series we’ve dubbed Jewish Tales from Wales. March 11 will offer a double-bill featuring the (Oscar-nominated) Romeo-and-Juliet story Solomon and Gaenor. Later that day, we’ll have the 2010 documentary Sleep Furiously, about the remote Welsh village where director Gideon Koppel’s parents found refuge from the Nazis. To round things out, on Wednesday March 14, we’ll screen the 2001 comedy Very Annie Mary, which will be introduced by director Sara Sugarman.

Later in March, we continue on in a cinematic mode as we open the new exhibition Filming the Camps: From Hollywood to Nuremberg, an exploration of how the war shaped — and how images of the war were to an extent shaped by — the filmmakers John Ford, George Stevens and Sam Fuller.

On March 21, the eve of the exhibition opening, curator Christian Delage will explore the lives of the three directors in word and film.

The following Sunday, March 25, Delage will be joined by the film scholar Stuart Liebman for a discussion that compares and contrasts the ways the Eastern and Western allies documented the liberation of the camps.

We’ll also be celebrating Passover in our next season. To set the stage, on March 28,Sephardic master Gerard Edery will offer a pre-holiday program that draws from the musical traditions of Spain, North Africa, the Balkans, and beyond.

The following Sunday, April 1, we welcome back storytelling duo Play Me a Story for a retelling of the Exodus story for children 3 through 10.

April — T.S. Eliot’s “cruelest month” — is also National Poetry Month, which we’ll be marking with our ongoing celebration of poet Emma Lazarus. On April 11, smack in the middle of Passover, we’ll welcome a number of poets to the stage for readings and reflections on the themes of immigration and exodus.

The poet will also be the focus of a lecture by biographer Esther Schor on April 29.

On March 18, the focus will be less Lazarus’ life and more her afterlife. Three scholars and activists convened by the Jewish Women’s Archive will explore what the poet’s legacy was in the 20th century and what it is today.

But, like I said, what’s foremost on our minds these days is film, and there are few films generating more buzz these days than the forthcoming Hunger Games movie. To help get us into the apocalyptic spirit, on March 4, we’ll have a conversation with novelists Joshua Cohen and Ben Marcus on their most recent books, both of which depict distinctly Jewish dystopias.

image: Still from Solomon and Gaenor, courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

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