Film Roundup from ‘Rabin’ to ‘Dough’
The Bentwich Syndrome
In this documentary, sabra Gur Bentwich pokes fun at his British forebears, accusing them of glorifying their heritage—a condition he calls the “Bentwich Syndrome.” Using Monty Python-like animation, family photos—and interviews with other Bentwiches (including journalist Ari Shavit, whose mother was a Bentwich), Bentwich demythologizes Herbert Bentwich (cofounder of the British Zionist Federation), Joseph Bentwich (Israel Prize winner) and others. Israeli Films. —Judith Gelman Myers
Rabin, The Last Day
The 1995 assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was one of the most traumatic events in Israeli history. Using a combination of newsreel footage, interviews and reenactments, Israeli filmmaker Amos Gitai looks beyond the major security lapses that enabled ultranationalist Yigal Amir to shoot Rabin. The film makes a strong case that a combination of extremist rabbis, settlers labeling Rabin a Nazi and opportunism by right-wing politicians laid the groundwork for the assassination. Kino Lorber. —Tom Tugend
Just as Adolf Eichmann’s trial was beamed into homes across the United States, Stanley Milgram began conducting obedience experiments at Yale University. Milgram wanted to research the human instinct to follow orders, however inhumane. He asked subjects to administer an electric shock to an innocent man. Milgram’s findings horrified the world and he was maligned as a monster. Actor Peter Sarsgaard plays Milgram in this brilliant homage to Milgram’s quest for truth. Magnolia Pictures. —J.G.M.
Working in London’s East End, Nat Dayan is an Orthodox baker and widower (Jonathan Pryce) struggling to hang on to his family’s century-old bakery as its Jewish customers leave the neighborhood. His new assistant, Ayyash, is a young Muslim refugee from Darfur.
The unlikely pair of heroes shine in director John Goldschmidt’s heartwarming caper, enlivened with a dose of giggles around the Shabbat table when Ayyash kneads marijuana into the week’s halla. This is a timely story of prejudice giving way to friendship. Menemsha Films. —Penny Schwartz