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Friday, Aug 10, 2012
Theodor Herzl's articulation of "the Jewish question" opens the documentary, It Is No Dream.

“The Jewish question still exists, it would be foolish to deny it.” So wrote Theodor Herzl in Der Judenstaat in 1895. His argument for a Jewish state opens the documentary, It Is No Dream: The Life of Theodor Herzl. Read by Christoph Waltz over images of current turmoil, marching skinheads and anti-Semitic graffiti, Herzl’s case here seems both prescient and never-ending. Opening 10 August at the Quad Cinema, Richard Trank’s film uses photos (augmented by the Ken Burns effect) and diary pages to illustrate the evolution of Herzl’s thinking, as well as his career as a playwright and essayist in Vienna. From his coverage of the Drefyus trial to his appeals to influential families (the Rothschilds) and heads of state, Herzl developed a plan for what would become Israel.


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Friday, Aug 10, 2012

“It started with the Army of Guardians patrolling the streets,” says Mitra Khalatbari, “constantly restricting, humiliating, and beating young people.” As she remembers the beginnings of resistance in her home country, the Iranian journalist is at once proud and sad. For as her memories bring her back to the elections of 2009 and the cruel oppressions that followed, Khalatbari, like other interviewees in The Green Wave (Irans gruner Sommer), is stunned by the betrayal and brutality of her government, the government that not so many years ago was born of resistance to another inhumane regime. Ali Samadi Ahadi’s remarkable documentary—opening in select theaters 10 August—underscores the horrific irony that the current Islamic Republic was born, in 1979, in response to the Shah’s abuses, and also makes clear the many contexts of the crisis, the history that made it possible and the lack of international that has allowed the crisis to persist.


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Friday, Aug 3, 2012
Hand it to Anthony Baxter, who makes the most of his limited moments with Donald Trump: he has no fear of the Donald.

“What would you say to the many local residents here, who feel that you’ve run roughshod over planning legislation and environmental issues simply because you’ve got lots of money?” Hand it to Anthony Baxter, who makes the most of his limited moments with Donald Trump: he has no fear of the Donald. He asks his queston—and gets no good answer—on the occasion of Trump’s visit to Scotland’s Aberdeenshire coast, where, he declares, he means to construct “the world’s greatest golf course” here, in the “birthplace of golf”. As Trump speaks, the wind blows his hair.


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Thursday, Aug 2, 2012
Gore Vidal, 1925-2012. A great man of letters, Gore Vidal has died. Mr. Vidal was a public figure a la Truman Capote and Norman Mailer, and perhaps Christopher Hitchens. Moreover, he wrote about 25 novels. Nonetheless, he was truly remembered for calling William F. Buckley Jr. a "crypto-Nazi" during a 1968 televised debate.


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Monday, Jun 18, 2012
The Northside Festival in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, beginning on 18 June, features fiction films, music, and art -- as well as a number of terrific documentaries.

“I’m looking for a specific type of girl for the Japanese market,” says Ashley, scouting girl models for the Japanese agency, Switch. She’s explaining her work for David Redmon and Ashley Sabin’s extraordinary documentary, Girl Model. “The girls need to be a certain height, not too tall, cute, young. Young is very important.” Ashley turns her own camera on a few girls as they hold up handwritten papers noting their names and birthplaces. She shoots them with their hair up and down, from the side and from the front. The session—vaguely awkward, tense and brief—introduces a disturbing phenomenon. As much as these slender, big-eyed children (and their parents) hope that the promises of agents will come true, that modeling will help them escape their impoverished small towns, they are, in fact, headed into a business designed to exploit them—in any number of ways.


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