August 19, 2019

A Cinematic Salute to Israel

For the next five Tuesdays, Sephardic TempleTifereth Israel will commemorate Israel’s 50 years of independence,with free screenings of films produced in the nation or celebratingmoments in its history. The series begins this week with “Hanna’sWar,” the inspiring true story of Hanna Senesh, a Hungarian freedomfighter and paratrooper in pre-indepen-dence Palestine. Ellen Burstynstars in the 1988 feature.

On March 10, “Exodus 1947,” a new documentaryabout the infamous immigrant journey, will screen. The film includesfootage from the actual crossing. Showing the following week will be”Hill 24 Doesn’t Answer,” Israel’s first feature film in English. Itis the story of Israel’s 1948 War of Independence, from the point ofview of four Israeli soldiers during separate cease-fires inJerusalem. The provocative 1955 film is considered by many to be aclassic.

Screening on March 24: “Clear Skies,” adocumentary about Israel’s air force, including its missions duringthe Six-Day War, the Yom Kippur War, Lebanon, freeing the hostages inEntebbe and the raid on Iraq’s nuclear facilities. The series willconclude on March 31 with “Two Warriors: The Lives of Moshe Dayan andYitzhak Rabin,” an episode from the A&E cable network’s”Biography” series that originally aired a few weeks after Rabin’sassassination.

Rabbi Daniel Bouskila of Sephardic Templecertainly had much to choose from when he made his series selections.”I tried to pick a diverse mix of feature films and documentariesthat show the birth and rise of the State of Israel,” he said.

All screenings will begin at 7:45 p.m. in thetemple’s Maurice Amado Hall, 10500 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood. (310)475-7311.

The Long Way to Oscar

The Simon Wiesenthal Center-produced “The Long WayHome” has returned for a weekend-morning engagement leading up toOscar night. The film about survivors of the Holocaust and how theyhelped settle Israel is up for an award in the best documentaryfeature category. See it at Laemmle’s Sunset 5, 8000 Sunset Blvd.,West Hollywood, Saturdays and Sundays, 10:30 a.m. (213)848-3500.

“Burn Hollywood Burn,” Please

Usually, I use this space for movies worthrecommending, but as a public service, I must warn you of a film toavoid. “Burn Hollywood Burn, An Alan Smithee Film” opens this week; Ihad the misfortune of seeing it a few months ago. It is a crude,self-congratulatory waste of time, concocted by overpaid screenwriterJoe Eszterhas, with a host of celebrities as themselves. Eric Idlestars as Smithee, a director who hijacks the print of his filmbecause he doesn’t like the studio’s plans for it. Fair enoughpremise, but the mock documentary style of the film is nothing but asuccession of talking heads, their language littered within-your-face, inflated expletives. It is a bankrupt film and, thoughearly, a safe bet for worst-of-the-year status.

At area theaters, if you dare.