October 9, 2007

Tuesday, October 9

Film Review: Golda's Balcony
Golda Meir was always one of my great heroes; she saved a nice Jewish girl from Long Island from believing the world was only full of men who make decisions. Several years ago William Gibson wrote a one-woman play about Meir, her history and the dilemma surrounding the potential use of nuclear weapons during the 1973 Yom Kippur war. The play which starred Tovah Feldshuh was very moving, and now Gibson has rejiggered his script for film. Starring Valerie Harper and directed by Jeremy Kagan, the film opens in limited released in NY on Wednesday.

Talking about Israel today is not an easy topic, tempers flare up quickly on all sides. This film is interesting because it is a history lesson from the perspective of a woman leader and those are very few. This is the unlikely story of a how midwestern, American woman wound up as Prime Minister of the young state of Israel. She escaped the US in her late teens (pulling her husband with her) to go to Palestine to work on a kibbutz needing to be free from the American restrictions on young women. She became excited by politics and worked her way up to a seat at the table at the founding of the state of Israel. Right before the British were going to pull out in 1948 she made the pilgrimage to America to raise the money necessary to buy arms to fight off the Arab neighbors who were poised to attack the second the British departed. She wound up raising $50 million dollars, much more than expected.

Her family suffered for her political ambitions and she felt guilty, but staying home and not working was not something she could endure.

The decisions about the constant need to fight and defend the country weighed heavily on her, probably because she was a woman and her other peers in leadership were all military men. No decision was more difficult than the potential dropping of a nuclear bomb on Arab military sites during the dire days of the 73 war when Israel was on the brink of extinction. She debates the global implications with her cabinet and fortunately, the issue was never forced.

The film is still a one-woman show, Harper is a tour de force, but it does get trying seeing her play all the other characters too. But Meir, is a worthy topic, especially now that we could be potentially on the verge of a female president in the US.

More info on screenings and openings:
Golda's Balcony


The Princess Diaries producer Debra Martin Chase and producer-writer Nely Galan are teaming up to bring Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez's novel The Dirty Girls Social Club to the big screen.
It's Girls Night Out at the Movies (Hollywood Reporter)
IFC Entertainment has announced its acquisition two French films screening at the New York Film Festival, Claude Chabrol's A Girl Cut in Two and Valeria Bruni Tedeschi's Actresses. Already a box office hit in France, Chabrol's thriller opened there this summer and also screened at the Toronto and Venice festivals. Bruni Tedeschi's comedy Actresses was an award-winner at the Cannes Film Festival. Both films will be released theatrically and via cable V.O.D. next year (Indiewire)

Around the Web
Catherine Deneuve and Laura Linney to be Honored at AFI Fest next month
Fest Honors Deneuve and Linney

Films in competition at AFI with a woman focus or women directors include: (still trying to check out all the titles)

International Documentary:
"Operation Filmmaker" Featuring: Liev Schreiber, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson DIR: Nina Davenport PROD: Nina Davenport, David Schisgall. USA
"The Unforseen"
DIR: Laura Dunn PROD: Laura Dunn, Douglas Sewell, Jef Sewell, William Warren. USA

American Showcase:
Cast: Samantha Morton, Jason Patric, Teri Garr, Illeana Douglas DIR: Cecilia Miniucchi PROD: Jeffrey Coulter, Fred Roos EXEC PROD: Alex Shing, Antoni Stutz, Lawrence Wang USA

Documentary Showcase:
"Body of War"
DIR: Ellen Spiro, Phil Donahue EXEC PROD: Phil Donahue CO-PROD: Karen Bernstein USA

Meryl Street Talks Politics and Passion

Lisa Kudrow joins Hotel for Dogs with Don Cheadle and Emma Roberts.
Kudrow Checks Into Hotel for Dogs (Hollywood Reporter via Reuters)

Tube Today
Classic Alert: Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl @5:15pm (Turner Classic Movies)