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Toronto Film Festival

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      16.03.2002 21:10
      Very helpful



      Ok i never went to the film festival but if they dont want to post up your op you have to jemmy it in somewhere or its recycle bin time. Still they will either shift it or bin it so i cant lose anyway. Blockbusters video stores are employing new sales techniques aimed at evenings when single people tend to flock. The comedy section is to be scented with banana. Its ead de gunpowder for action and heaven scent, which is a mix of sweat and pheromones for romance. For this Barry Levison Jewish mood piece theres a distinct with of pork as the reek from Stallones section wafts over a distinct whiff of turkey. Just as Sam Mendes used American Beauty to confront his hang-ups about homosexuality and the mid life crisis, Levison who has directed a menagerie of solid film uses it to explore and celebrate his own Jewishness as a boy in Baltimore. Like Steven Spielberg who also was sired from this Middle America bastion of hard working Jews, both directors feel like they have to tell a story from their faith to forefill their birthright. Sadly if you are not of the faith it really doesn?t endear you to the tale of three boys who go through your typical rights of passage stuff before they go to college. The element of interest for the outsider here is in the racial contexts in the film. Although Baltimore has its Jewish, black, and Italian areas that struggle to get on with each other, never mind the white segregation. Theres defiantly a message here that oppressed races are pretty much all the same with equal struggles against their 1950s Arian oppressors. The stories of two of the three boys who fall for a rich society girl and a young black school student are predictable in the extreme with unanimous parental disappointment. Again I would suspect that these are the directors memories of his youth and how that racism effected his high quality filmmaking. The father of the one who likes the colored girl is the h
      ead of the Jewish Mafia although he fronts a burlesque music hall to gain more standing in his local neighborhood. His double standards of not letting his son meet black girls and running illegal numbers rackets is not missed in the plot. His on going disagreement with a black drug runner who cleans up on the Jewish run lottery is the other storyline as the two gangs try to work in harmony. But neither line really grabs you and what you are left with is an essay of Jewish culture by an aging director reminiscing through film. And not a particularly inspiring film who doesn?t know his Barmitzha from his Bagel. If you are of this faith then you will probably get the most out of it over anyone else. To me it was just another one for BBC2 late night season of quality directing but of little substance or relevance. Definitely one not to rent and background for a wet Sunday afternoon.


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