This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001

HAMLET: PUBLIC THEATER MOBILE UNIT

(photo by Joan Marcus)

Hamlet (Chukwudi Iwuji) is back home at the Public Theater after Mobile Unite road trip across the five boroughs (photo by Joan Marcus)

The Shiva Theater at the Public Theater
425 Lafayette St.
Tuesday - Sunday through October 9, $20
212-539-8500
publictheater.org

After making stops at such locations as Rikers Island, the Brownsville Recreation Center, the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, the Williamsbridge Oval Recreation Center, and the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House’s Women’s Mental Health Shelter at the Park Avenue Armory, the Public Theater’s Mobile Unit has come home to the Shiva Theater, where it will be presenting its stirring adaptation of Hamlet through October 9. The 105-minute streamlined version of the classic Bard tragedy is performed just as it was during its five-borough road trip, on a small center stage with very few props. The audience is seated on all four sides of the action, and costume changes are made in full view just behind the seats; the only concession to the more traditional theater setup at the Shiva is that the three rows of seating are on risers. Olivier Award winner and Royal Shakespeare Company associate artist Chukwudi Iwuji is both inspired and inspiring as Hamlet, the depressed son of the recently murdered king who is told by his father’s ghost (Timothy D. Stickney) that he was killed by his brother, Claudius (Stickney), who has since married Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude (Orlagh Cassidy), and assumed the throne. As Hamlet considers what a rogue and peasant slave he is, contemplates the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, opines on what a piece of work is man, and decides that the play’s the thing that will catch the conscience of the king, Claudius sends Hamlet’s school friends Rosencrantz (Natalie Woolams-Torres) and Guildenstern (Christian DeMarais) to spy on him. Meanwhile, Hamlet also reevaluates his relationship with Ophelia (Kristolyn Lloyd), the sister of the brave Laertes (DeMarais) and daughter of the king’s right-hand man, Polonius (Daniel Pearce).

hamlet-mobile-unit

Director Patricia McGregor (Hurt Village, The Mountaintop) takes fun liberties with the staging, infusing it with modern-day humor that works not only for an audience of underserved youth and adults who might never have seen a live Shakespeare play before but also for a more experienced crowd of regular theatergoers at the Public. DeMarais is a hoot as a white hip-hopper, Pearce is extremely funny as the stalwart Polonius (and the gravedigger), and Christopher Ryan Grant (the player king) provides an appropriately foreboding percussive soundtrack. Not everything works; the character of Ophelia nearly gets lost in all the drama, save for Lloyd’s overemotional singing of music by Imani Uzuri. Stickney is a bold, confident Claudius, Cassidy is a poignant queen, but this Hamlet, as the work requires, belongs to the lead, and Iwuji, who has never played the role before, jumps in feet first, giving his all, often making direct eye contact with the audience to bring them further into the story. He does a lot of shouting, but he balances that with beautifully rendered soliloquies that (almost) feel like they could have been written today. That feeling is enhanced by some of Montana Levi Blanco’s contemporary costume choices, including a hoodie worn by Hamlet. Other fresh touches include, yes, a cell phone. Katherine Akiko Day’s set is just about as basic as they come, a small square area about the size of a boxing ring, where characters bring chairs and roll multipurpose boxes on- and offstage, creating an intimate atmosphere. The Mobile Unit production of Hamlet is a must-see for both newbies as well as Bard enthusiasts, a playful adaptation highlighted by a superior performance by Iwuji.

NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL 2016

Director Mike Mills and star Annette Bening will present the world premiere of 20th CENTURY WOMEN at the New York Film Festival (photo by Merrick Morton)

Director Mike Mills and star Annette Bening will present the world premiere of 20th CENTURY WOMEN at the New York Film Festival (photo by Merrick Morton)

Film Society of Lincoln Center, Walter Reade Theater, Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center,
Bruno Walter Auditorium, Alice Tully Hall
West 65th St. between Broadway & Amsterdam Ave.
September 30 - October 16
212-875-5601
www.filmlinc.org/nyff2016

The fifty-fourth New York Film Festival gets under way on September 30 with Ava DuVernay’s 13th, kicking off more than two weeks of screenings and special events at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. The centerpiece selection is Mike Mills’s 20th Century Woman, with James Gray’s The Lost City of Z closing things on October 15. Divided into Main Slate, Convergence, Explorations, Projections, Retrospectives, Revivals, and Spotlight on Documentary, this year’s lineup also features works by Paul Verhoeven, Bertrand Tavernier, Gianfranco Rosi, Bill Morrison, Cristian Mungiu, Ken Loach, Errol Morris, Pedro Almodóvar, Kenneth Lonergan, Jim Jarmusch, Olivier Assayas, Cristi Puiu, Kenneth Lonergan, Eugène Green, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Douglas Gordon, and Hong Sang-soo, most of whom will be on hand for Q&As following select screenings. “A Brief Journey through French Cinema” includes films by Bertrand Tavernier, Robert Bresson, Jacques Becker, Julien Duvivier, Jean-Pierre Melville, and Jean Renoir, while a tribute to Henry Hathaway boasts a dozen movies, from Garden of Evil and Kiss of Death to Niagara and Rawhide. Among this year’s Revivals are Gillo Pontecorvo’s restored The Battle of Algiers, Bresson’s L’argent, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea’s Memories of Underdevelopment, and Marlon Brando’s One-Eyed Jacks. Below is a list of one highlight per day; keep checking twi-ny for reviews and further information.

Saturday, October 1
through
Sunday, October 16

Lives in Transit video installation by Global Lives Project, free, Furman Gallery, Walter Reade Theater

Saturday, October 1
Gimme Danger (Jim Jarmusch, 2016), followed by a Q&A with Jim Jarmusch and Iggy Pop, Alice Tully Hall, $25, 9:15

Sunday, October 2
Meet the Makers: Sherlock Holmes & the Internet of Things, with Lance Weller and Nick Fortugno, Howard Gilman Theater, free, 1:00

Wednesday, October 3
“The Psychology of Storytelling: Lindsay Doran,” with Oscar-nominated producer and studio executive Lindsay Doran, Howard Gilman Theater, 6:45

Tuesday, October 4
Dawson City: Frozen Time (Bill Morrison, 2016), followed by a Q&A with Bill Morrison, Francesca Beale Theater, $15, 9:00

Wednesday, October 5
Film Comment Live: A Quiet Passion (Terence Davies, 2016), followed by a Q&A with Terence Davies, Cynthia Nixon, and Sol Papadopoulos, Walter Reade Theater, 6:00

Thursday, October 6
The Death of Louis XIV (Albert Serra, 2016), followed by a Q&A with Albert Serra and Jean-Pierre Léaud, Alice Tully Hall, $20, 6:00

Friday, October 7
Harlan County USA, (Barbara Kopple, 1976), followed by a Q&A with Barbara Kopple, Walter Reade Theater, $15, 6:00

Saturday, October 8
Projections Program 2: Beyond Landscape, short films followed by Q&As with directors Rosa Barba, Tomonari Nishikawa, Sky Hopinka, and Brigid McCaffrey, Howard Gilman Theater, $15, 5:15

The one and only Jean-Pierre Léaud and director Albert Serra will be at the New York Film Festival to screen and discuss THE DEATH OF LOUIS XIV

The one and only Jean-Pierre Léaud and director Albert Serra will be at the New York Film Festival to screen and discuss THE DEATH OF LOUIS XIV

Sunday, October 9
Restless Creature: Wendy Whelan (Linda Saffire & Adam Schlesinger, 2016), followed by a Q&A with Wendy Whelan, Linda Saffire, Adam Schlesinger, and other crew members, Walter Reade Theater, 3:30

Monday, October 10
Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds (Alexis Bloom & Fisher Stevens, 2016), followed by a Q&A with Carrie Fisher, Alexis Bloom, and Fisher Stevens, Alice Tully Hall, $20, 6:00

Tuesday, October 11
My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea (Dash Shaw, 2016), followed by a Q&A with Dash Shaw, Howard Gilman Theater, $20, 6:00

Wednesday, October 12
Spotlight on Documentary: The Cinema Travellers (Shirley Abraham & Amit Madheshiya, 2016), followed by a Q&A with Shirley Abraham and Amit Madheshiya, Francesca Beale Theater, $15, 9:00

Thursday, October 13
HBO Directors Dialogues: Paul Verhoeven discussing Elle, Elinor Bunin Munroe amphitheater, free, 7:00

Friday, October 14
Explorations: Everything Else (Natalia Almada, 2016), followed by a Q&A with producer Daniela Alatorre, Walter Reade Theater, $15, 4:00

Saturday, October 15
Elle (Paul Verhoeven, 2016), followed by a Q&A with Paul Verhoeven and Isabelle Huppert, Alice Tully Hall, 3:00

ERIC ROHMER’S SIX MORAL TALES: LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON

LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON

Chloé (Zouzou) and Frédéric Carrelet (Bernard Verley) develop a unique relationship in Eric Rohmer’s LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON

SIX MORAL TALES: L’AMOUR L’APRÈS-MIDI (LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON) (CHLOÉ IN THE AFTERNOON) (Eric Rohmer, 1972)
Film Society of Lincoln Center, Walter Reade Theater
144 West 65th St. between Eighth Ave. & Broadway
Nightly through September 29, 6:45 & 8:45
212-875-5050
www.filmlinc.org

The Film Society of Lincoln Center’s “Eric Rohmer’s Six Moral Tales” concludes with the last work in the series, the 1972 drama Love in the Afternoon, which serves not only as the chronological end but the thematic finale as well. Bernard Verley stars as Frédéric Carrelet, a nearly perfect 1970s French bourgeois character. In his mid-thirties, a partner in a two-lawyer firm, he is about to have his second child with his wife, Hélène, played by his real spouse at the time, Françoise Verley, in her only feature film. While Frédéric seems at ease with his steady suburban life, he daydreams about other women, albeit with no intention of taking action. At lunch he goes to a café, watches all the passersby outside, and thinks (in voice-over narration), “If there’s one thing I’m incapable of now, it’s trying to seduce a girl. I have no idea what to say.” However, he adds, “The prospect of quiet happiness stretching indefinitely before me depresses me.” But he also admits about women, “I feel their seductive power without giving in to it.” But when an old friend from his past, the sexy and freewheeling Chloé (Zouzou), unexpectedly arrives in his office one day and starts an unpredictable yet exciting flirtation with him, Frédéric is forced to look deep inside himself and make some choices about his life that are harder than he anticipated.

chloe-in-the-afternoon

Love in the Afternoon — which should not be confused with Billy Wilder’s 1957 romantic comedy of the same name, starring Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant, but was remade in 2007 by Chris Rock and Louis C.K. as I Think I Love My Wife — is a delightful will-he-or-won’t-he drama in which the man, Frédéric, thinks he has all the power but in fact it rests in the hands of all the women he meets, from a sexy store employee (Irène Skobline) who upsells him a cashmere button-down shirt instead of yet another drab, confining turtleneck to the two secretaries in his office, Fabienne (Malvina Penne) and Martine (Babette Ferrier), who suspect something untoward is going on, to Hélène and Chloé. Made during the women’s liberation movement, the film shows Frédéric at the mercy of all the women in his life, including those he meets on the street. At one point he imagines having a magical device that makes him irresistible to them, using it to conquer a succession of six women played by actresses from three of Rohmer’s previous Moral Tales, each described by Frédéric with one adjective: indifferent (Françoise Fabian from My Night at Maud’s), hurried (Béatrice Romand from Claire’s Knee), hesitant (Marie-Christine Barrault, My Night at Maud’s), busy (La Collectionneuse’s Haydée Politoff), accompanied (Laurence de Monaghan, Claire’s Knee), and alone (Aurora Cornu, Claire’s Knee). Frédéric is a kind of everyman, facing sin and temptation everywhere; he even accidentally catches their lovely English nanny (Suze Randall) in the buff. So he is in a constant struggle with his moral code, and that of society, while wondering if it is possible to truly love and be in love with two women at the same time. Written and directed by Rohmer, who casts no judgments on any of his characters, and photographed with a sly sense of humor by Néstor Almendros, Love in the Afternoon is a fitting end to Rohmer’s Six Moral Tales, bringing everything full circle with an absolutely grand finale. (The film is being shown twice a night through September 29 at the Walter Reade Theater, at 6:45 and 8:45, in a new 35mm restoration.)

BEYOND THE INGÉNUE: WATER LILIES

WATER LILIES

Floriane (Adèle Haenel) and Marie (Pauline Acquart) develop a complicated friendship in Céline Sciamma’s WATER LILIES

CINÉSALON: WATER LILIES (NAISSANCE DES PIEUVRES) (Céline Sciamma, 2007)
French Institute Alliance Française, Florence Gould Hall
55 East 59th St. between Madison & Park Aves.
Tuesday, September 27, $14, 4:00 & 7:30
Series continues Tuesdays through October 25
212-355-6100
www.fiaf.org

This past spring, the FIAF CinéSalon series “EDM Anthems: French Touch on Film” concluded with Céline Sciamma’s Girlhood, an award-winning coming-of-age drama about a sixteen-year-old girl who is trying to find a workable path to a worthwhile adulthood but is continually thwarted by socioeconomic and cultural issues. The 2014 film stars Karidja Touré, who was nominated for a César for Most Promising Actress. On September 27, Sciamma’s first feature, Water Lilies, another poignant and provocative coming-of-age drama, will be shown in the FIAF CinéSalon series “Beyond the Ingénue.” The 2007 film stars Adèle Haenel and Pauline Acquart, both of whom earned nominations as Most Promising Actress, along with a Best Debut nod for Sciamma. Mousy Marie (Acquart) wants to become part of her school’s synchronized swimming team, so she cozies up to squad captain Floriane (Haenel), who has a reputation as a rather loose girl. Marie’s best friend, Anne (Louise Blachère), dreams of having her first kiss with the hunky François (Warren Jacquin), a swimmer who is dating Floriane. Marie is caught in the middle, especially as she develops feelings of her own for Floriane.

The French title of Water Lilies is Naissance des Pieuvres, which translates as Birth of the Octopuses, referencing the eight interweaving arms of the four main characters as well as the synchronized swimming team itself. The film is a bold and honest look at young love, teen angst, and body image. While Floriane flaunts her alluring figure, Marie is small and flat-chested, and Anne is big-boned and fleshy, with large breasts that she desperately wants François to see. Writer-director Sciamma creates uniquely believable and intimately touching scenes that reveal the different problems the protagonists face as regular teenagers who might not quite be ready for what they are getting themselves involved in. As with Girlhood and Sciamma’s other full-length feature, 2011’s Tomboy, the cinematography, which goes from underwater shots to long, shadowy hallways, is by Crystel Fournier, with music by Para One, aka electronica maestro Jean-Baptiste de Laubier. Winner of the Louis Delluc Prize for Best First Film, Water Lilies is screening September 27 at 4:00 and 7:30; the later show will be introduced by Columbia French literature professor Elisabeth Ladenson. “Beyond the Ingénue” continues Tuesday nights through October 25 with such other films as Éric Rohmer’s Pauline at the Beach, Patricia Mazuy’s The King’s Daughters, and Jacques Rozier’s Adieu Philippine.

PATTINSON X CRONENBERG: MAPS TO THE STARS

MAPS TO THE STARS

Jerome Fontana (Robert Pattinson) and Agatha Weiss (Mia Wasikowska) look to the Hollywood hills in MAPS TO THE STARS

MAPS TO THE STARS (David Cronenberg, 2014)
BAMcinématek, BAM Rose Cinemas
30 Lafayette Ave. between Ashland Pl. & St. Felix St.
Wednesday, September 28, 4:30 & 9:30
718-636-4100
www.focusfeatures.com
www.bam.org

Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg and American novelist and screenwriter Bruce Wagner, a match made in Hollywood Babylon, paint a savage portrait of celebrity culture in the absolutely incendiary and off-the-charts satire Maps to the Stars. The darkly funny comic drama centers on Agatha Weiss (Mia Wasikowska), a young woman who returns to Hollywood after having been put away for a long time for a dangerous deed, her face and body marked by burns. Befriending limo driver Jerome Fontana (Robert Pattinson), who is an aspiring actor and writer, Agatha gets a job working for disgruntled actress Havana Segrand (Julianne Moore), who is desperate to star in the remake of Stolen Moments, playing the role that made her mother, Clarice Taggart (Sarah Gadon), famous, but Havana fears that according to Hollywood she is much too old. Havana undergoes regular intense physical and psychological therapy to deal with her mommy issues with television healer Stafford Weiss (John Cusack), Agatha’s father, who has banished his daughter from ever contacting the family again. Meanwhile, Agatha’s younger brother, thirteen-year-old child star Benjie Weiss (Evan Bird), is a Bieberesque character fresh out of rehab who is negotiating the sequel to his massive hit, Bad Babysitter, with his very serious stage mom, Cristina (Olivia Williams). Slowly but surely, everyone’s lives intersect in a riot of fame and misfortune, drugs and guns, ghosts and incest.

Julianne Moore

Havana Segrand (Julianne Moore) screams for success in dazzling collaboration between David Cronenberg and Bruce Wagner

Cronenberg, who has made such previous cult favorites as Scanners, The Fly, Naked Lunch, and A History of Violence, and the L.A.-based Wagner, author of such stinging novels as I’ll Let You Go, Still Holding, The Empty Chair, and I’m Losing You, which he also turned into a film, leave nothing and no one unscathed in this thoroughly brutal depiction of Hollywood as a haunted La La Land of dreams and nightmares, both literally and figuratively. Rising star Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland, In Treatment, Jane Eyre) is superb as Agatha, her inner and outer scars revealing more and more of themselves as she reinserts herself into the life of her crazy family, with Cusack channeling a bit of Nicolas Cage as the overprotective patriarch, a self-help guru who could use a little help himself. Moore was named Best Actress at Cannes for her harrowing portrayal of an actress teetering on the edge of reality. Shooting for the first time ever in the United States, Cronenberg captures the sights and smells of Los Angeles and its environs; most of the film was shot in Canada, however, but Cronenberg kept Wagner, a former Hollywood limo driver himself, close by, trying to attain as much authenticity as possible. Twilight hunk Pattinson, who spent all of Cronenberg’s previous movie, Cosmopolis, in the back of a limo, gets in the driver’s seat here, playing an alternate, reimagined version of Wagner. The severely screwed-up Weiss family serves as a microcosm for Hollywood’s own severely screwed-up dysfunction, as Cronenberg melds the ridiculous with the sublime, the tragic with the comic, the bizarre with the, well, more bizarre, creating a modern-day fairy-tale mashup of Shakespeare and Williams, Sunset Boulevard and Less than Zero, a caustic, cautionary tale of the price you pay for getting what you wish for. Both Maps to the Stars and Cosmopolis are being shown September 28 in the one-day BAMcinématek presentation “Pattinson x Cronenberg,” highlighting the unexpected pairing of the actor and director.

LUNGS HARVEST ARTS FESTIVAL

lungs-harvest-arts-festival

Multiple community gardens on the Lower East Side
Saturday, September 24, and Sunday, September 25, free
www.lungsnyc.org

More than fifty community gardens on the Lower East Side are participating in the fifth annual LUNGS (Loisaida United Neighborhood Gardens) Harvest Festival, a weekend of free special events, including music, dance, film screenings, walking tours, workshops, art, poetry, karaoke, meditation, and more. Below are only some of the recommended events for Saturday and Sunday; there are also activities at the M’Finda Kalunga Garden, Fireman’s Garden, Liz Christy Garden, Secret Garden, El Sol Brillante, Doroty Strelsin Suffolk St. Garden, East Side Outside Garden, Umbrella House Rooftop Garden, Creative Little Garden, Lower East Side People Care Garden, Kenkeleba House Garden, Children’s Magical Garden, Green Oasis, Elizabeth St. Garden, Toyota Children’s Garden, Sam & Sadie Koenig Garden, and many others. The festival is a great way to become familiar with and support these small gems that can be found all over the Lower East Side.

Saturday, September 24

Permaculture tour with Ross Martin and Marga Snyder, La Plaza Cultural, Ave. C at Ninth St., 12 noon

Live music with Elizabeth Ruf, Ben Cauley, Avon Faire, Tammy Faye Starlight, Witch Camp with Amber Martin & Nath-Ann Carrera, Salley May, and Val Kinzler, DeColores Garden, East Eighth St. between Aves. B & C, 1:00 – 5:00

Guided meditation, with Matthew Caban and Jaquay Saintil, the Lower East Side People Care Garden, Rutgers St. between Henry and Madison Sts., 2:00

Collaborative poetry workshop with Rhoma Mostel, La Guardia Corner Gardens, Bleecker & Houston Sts., 3:00

“The Bride” performance piece by Theresa Byrnes, La Plaza Cultural, Ave. C at Ninth St., 4:00

Dance performance with Heidi Henderson and students from Connecticut College, Kizuna Dance, John Gutierrez, Sheep Meadow Dance Theater, Rina Espiritu, Lauren Kravitz, and Shantel Prado, Cornfield Dance, Rod Rodgers Teen Dancers, El Jardín del Paraíso, Fourth St. between Aves. C & D, 4:00

Dimensions of Ecology panel discussion, with Stuart Losee, Felicia Young, Anna Fitzgerald, and Chloe Rosetti, La Plaza Cultural, Ave. C at Ninth St., 5:00

Sunday, September 25

Pysanky workshop: How to Make Ukrainian Easter Eggs, with Anna Sawaryn, 6B Garden, Ave. B at Sixth St., 11:00 am – 2:00 pm

“Garbagia Island” Creatures Performance and Fashion Show, El Jardín del Paraíso, Fourth St. between Aves. C & D, 1:00

Vangeline Theater’s “Wake Up and Smell the Coffee,” contemporary Butoh dance, El Jardín del Paraíso, Fourth St. between Aves. C & D, 2:00

“Garden to Table Nutrition,” with Vanessa Berenstein, La Guardia Corner Gardens, Bleecker & Houston Sts., 3:00

Fountain installation: “Jeux d’Eaux” by Nicholas Vargelis, Le Petit Versailles, Second St. between Aves. B & C, 4:00

Laughter Yoga, with Sara Jones, La Guardia Corner Gardens, Bleecker & Houston Sts., 5:00

Photography show: George Hirose’s “Midnight in the Garden,” Campos Garden, Twelfth St. between Aves. B & C, 6:30

Dance party with Ray Santiago Band, Campos Garden, Twelfth St. between Aves. B & C, 7:30-9:30

THE RUINS OF LIFTA: WHERE THE HOLOCAUST AND NAKBA MEET

THE RUINS OF LIFTA

Menachem Daum and Yacoub Odeh discuss a different aspect of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in THE RUINS OF LIFTA

THE RUINS OF LIFTA: WHERE THE HOLOCAUST AND NAKBA MEET (Menachem Daum & Oren Rudavsky, 2016)
Lincoln Plaza Cinema
1886 Broadway at 63rd St.
Opens Friday, September 23
212-757-2280
www.lincolnplazacinema.com
www.firstrunfeatures.com

Menachem Daum and Oren Rudavsky’s The Ruins of Lifta: Where the Holocaust and Nakba Meet is built on a faulty premise, but the film still manages to be a rather provocative and intriguing documentary. In their previous collaboration, Hiding and Seeking: Faith and Tolerance after the Holocaust, Rudavsky and Daum examined Daum’s relationship with his parents, Polish Jews who survived the Holocaust and taught Daum to distrust all non-Jews. Their latest film takes viewers to Lifta, the historic but now crumbling Palestinian village at the western entrance to Jerusalem that was abandoned during the 1948 war and has never been resettled by Palestinians or taken over by Israelis. A recent plan calls for it to be razed in order to make way for luxury villas. “Its ruins bear witness to the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Daum, an Orthodox Jew, says about the village. “The story told by Lifta’s ruins challenges the narrative that I, the son of Holocaust survivors, believed in for most of my life.” Daum meets with members of the Coalition to Save Lifta, a small group of Jews and Palestinians, including cofounder Daphna Golan, Ilan Shatyer, and Yacoub Odeh. Daum also speaks with historians Benny Morris and Hillel Cohen and Palestinian lawyer Sami Arshid, who offer different perspectives on the conflict.

The mistake Daum makes is drawing parallels between Odeh, who was expelled along with the rest of the Palestinians in 1948, and Holocaust survivor Dasha Rittenberg, creating a false equivalency between the Nazis’ Final Solution that murdered six million Jews and the Nakba, the exile of the Palestinians. “The Holocaust and Nakba narratives are not exclusive. I do not have to choose between them,” Daum says as he attempts to bring the outspoken and angry Odeh and the calmer, soft-spoken Rittenberg together, as if their rapprochement might signal the possibility of a larger peace between the Jews and the Palestinians. But it is clear early on that Odeh is never going to be satisfied, which serves as a microcosm of any potential agreements about land and self-rule in Jerusalem. In his previous film, Colliding Dreams, made with Joseph Dorman, Rudavsky (A Life Apart: Hasidism in America) examined Zionism and Palestine’s history, specifically how Palestine did not belong to the British to give to the Jews when other people were already living there. In his director’s statement, Rudavsky explains, “We all need to throw Hail Mary passes on the subject of peace in Israel and this is our Hail Mary pass. If we don’t try — each and every one of us — to understand each other — then the future may truly be hopeless.” Although it might be a misguided pass — and one named after a Catholic prayer — in a game that seems to never end, The Ruins of Lifta still raises some important questions and is likely, at numerous moments, to stoke viewers’ ire.

';