in the garden

 

Jun 2003 Journal

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RG's Interface

The Oscars The 2003 Oscars focused on the Holocaust in several ways. The Pianist, based on Wladyslaw Szpylman's autobiography, gathered awards for best director, actor and screenplay. The best foreign-language film Oscar went to Nowhere in Africa, a dramatisation of Stefanie Zweig's autobiographical novel about a German Jewish family who found refuge in Kenya. A no less worthy contender for the award was Prisoners of Paradise, a documentary about Kurt Gerron. The actor, who had played the eponymous cabaret owner in The Blue Angel, was a prisoner in Terezin, where the Nazis tricked him into directing the propaganda film Der Führer schenkt den Juden eine Stadt with a promise to save his life.

German film The 84-year-old prolific producer Arthur Brauner, himself a Holocaust survivor whose output of over 50 films ranged from shlock to the Oscar-nominated Hitlerjunge Salomon, has completed a pet project by bringing the massacre of Baby Yar, in which he lost 12 relatives, to the screen.

Musical EL Doctorow's best-selling 1960s novel Ragtime has inspired a Broadway musical with the same title, currently running at the Piccadilly Theatre. It features such archetypal Jewish American figures of the 1900s as the anarchist Emma Goldman, the escapologist Houdini and a dirt-poor immigrant who strikes it rich as a film pioneer.

Obituary The bestselling American novelist Howard Fast has died, aged 88. The son of a New York garment worker, Fast showed early literary talent and wrote scripts for Voice of America broadcasts during the war. Afterwards, he began a steady output of left-leaning historical novels culminating in Spartacus (filmed by and with Kirk Douglas) in 1960. By this date Fast had broken with Communism, of which he had previously been an impassioned adherent. In subsequent novels such Moses, Prince of Egypt he reprised the Jewish theme he had previously broached in the Maccabee epic My Glorious Brothers.

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