DVD Roundup, from Josef Mengele to Dancing in Jaffa
The title character here is Dr. Josef Mengele, the infamous Auschwitz “Angel of Death,” high on the Allied and Israeli lists of Nazi war criminals. Like Adolf Eichmann, Mengele found refuge in Argentina at the end of World War II and, in the film, resumed his “medical experiments” on twins on an unsuspecting local family. Lucia Puenzo directed and Alex Brendemuhl stands out as Mengele in an otherwise middling cast. —Tom Tugend
“If my dad sees me with an Arab, he’ll kill me,” says one Jewish girl in Jaffa, where prize-winning ballroom dancer Pierre Dulaine, of Palestinian and Irish ancestry, has come to teach 11-year-old Jewish and Palestinian Israeli kids the rumba, tango and merengue. Especially endearing is Noor, a chubby Arab girl, who blooms into a spirited dancer. Director Hilla Medalia’s heartwarming documentary shows that Jewish and Arab children can learn to trust each other and, yes, swing those hips. —Renata Polt
May 1945, American G.I.s stationed at Heinrich Himmler’s country house found—and sold for a bottle of whiskey—a collection of private letters, documents and photographs that detailed the everyday and inner life of the architect of the final solution. After making the rounds of historians and private collectors, the collection was bought by Israeli filmmaker Vanessa Lapa for the purpose of making The Decent One. Combining readings of the letters with archival footage and reenactments, Lapa discovers a man who organized the murder of millions while shopping for his daughter’s Christmas gifts. Kino Lorber (www.kinolorber.com). —Judith Gelman Myers
sharon a. schaffer says
would like to know if there is an archive or jewish/hebrew film.