Mar 2003 Journal

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RG’s Interface

Mishpochology (1) The Jewish Museum in Frankfurt is marking the centenary of Carlo Levi with an exhibition of 60 paintings. Although Levi was first and foremost a painter, he had trained as a doctor and gained international fame with the publication of Christ Stopped at Eboli (1948), an account of his internal exile as an anti-fascist. Two cousins of his, similarly involved in resistance activists and famous as writers, were Primo Levi and Natalia Ginzburg.

Mishpochology (2) The film actor Daniel Day Lewis, a strong Oscar contender for his performance in Scorsese’s Gangs of New York, has a penchant for portraying Irish characters. This obviously has to do with his father, the poet Cecil Day Lewis, but he also benefited from a Jewish genetic input. Daniel’s mother was the actress Jill Balcon, the daughter of Sir Michael Balcon, the head of Ealing Studios. Daniel’s current wife, moreover, is the daughter of Arthur Miller.

Film Festivals (1) The Stockholm International Film Festival has given a Lifetime Achievement Award to the stage and screen actor Erland Josephson. Josephson played the Jewish antique dealer in Ingmar Bergman’s classic Fanny and Alexander and appeared in the same director’s Scenes from a Marriage and Face to Face. He also worked with Andrei Tarkovsky and Istvan Szabo.

Film Festivals (2) For the last few years New York has staged a Sephardic Film Festival. One of the highlights of the current festival was The Last Jewish Town, a documentary about the town of Guba in Azerbaijan, which still has 4,500 Jewish inhabitants. They claim descent from the tribe of Benjamin, one of the ten lost tribes, and practise an archaic lifestyle which includes shamanism and strictly defined roles for men and women.

Literary prize Norman Lebrecht, former music columnist of the Daily Telegraph, won the Whitbread New Fiction Prize for his novel The Song of Names.

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