Happy fifth night of Hanukkah, everyone! To celebrate, here are some off-the-beaten-path films you can stream about Jewish characters and Judaism, in a variety of contexts and with a range of sensibilities.
A Serious Man (2009)
The Coen Brothers are among the most prominent Jewish filmmakers working today, but seldom do they so directly address the Jewish-American experience as in this semi-autobiographical movie about a ’60s college professor who finds his life slowly, absurdly falling apart. His search for philosophical answers to his problems condenses millennia of Jewish intellectual inquiry into a dark but very funny story.
On Netflix and other platforms.
The Rabbi’s Cat (2011)
We see the stories of Sephardic Jews far less frequently than those of Ashkenazi Jews in media, so it’s nice to see the change of pace in this French animated film, directed by Joann Sfar and based on his comic book series of the same name. After a cat gains the ability to speak, rather than become a wacky cartoon sidekick animal, he prompts deep introversion in his master, a rabbi who tries to set him on the straight and narrow (with lessons from the Torah).
On Hoopla, Kanopy, and other platforms.
Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem (2014)
This closes out Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz’s trilogy on the unhappy marriage of Viviane Amsalem (played by Ronit Elkabetz), following from 2004’s To Take a Wife and 2008’s Shiva. You don’t need to have seen those films to understand this one, though. Set almost entirely in court, it explores in agonizing detail the unfair, often sexist confinements of religious law through the title character’s dogged pursuit of a divorce. It’s a finely tuned, precisely written and acted drama.
On OVID, Kanopy, and other platforms.
Memories So Fair and Bright
Kimetha Vanderveen’s paintings are about the interaction of materiality and light, the bond between the palpable and ephemeral world in which we live.
Artists Contemplate Sovereignty in Santa Fe
The Santa Fe Art Institute’s 2024 International Thematic Residency focuses on what sovereignty means for artists from across the world.
When I Am Empty Please Dispose of Me Properly
Ayanna Dozier, Ilana Harris-Babou, Meena Hasan, Lucia Hierro, Catherine Opie, Chuck Ramirez, and Pacifico Silano explore the myths of the American Dream at Brooklyn’s BRIC House.
How Did Early Modern European Craftspeople Pass On Their Knowledge?
A new book about object making critically examines a written history of working with materials.
Dual Portrait of Old Master Rachel Ruysch Holds a Trove of Secrets
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has just acquired the rare painting, which depicts the Dutch artist at work surrounded by her signature flora.
Pratt’s 2023 Fine Arts MFA Thesis Exhibition Is On View in Brooklyn
The two-part exhibition features the work of 41 graduating artists across disciplines, including painting, sculpture, printmaking, and integrated practices.
Did Van Gogh’s Disdain for the Eiffel Tower Inspire “Starry Night”?
Art historian James Hall argues that van Gogh replaced the Eiffel Tower with a towering cypress tree and its inaugural light shows with the night sky.
Greek Museum Welcomes Dogs For World Stray Animal Day
Furry friends and their pawrents can visit Athens’s National Museum of Contemporary Art for free this weekend.
The Milton Resnick and Pat Passlof Foundation Presents The Feminine in Abstract Painting
Curated by Jennifer Samet and Andrea Belag, this group exhibition in NYC explores the feminine through aesthetics, as opposed to identity or gender.
Ai Weiwei Recreates Monet’s “Water Lilies” Using 650,000 LEGOS
It’s the artist’s largest LEGO artwork to date.
Did a Simpsons Episode Predict the Florida “David” Outrage?
The episode, which aired 30 years ago, made a dark prediction about conservative politics in 2023.
NYU Steinhardt Opens 2023 MFA Thesis Exhibitions
Taking place at 80WSE Gallery in New York’s Greenwich Village, Part I is on view from late March through April while Part II opens in May.
Coasting the Topography of South Asian Futurisms
As part of Hyperallergic’s Emily Hall Tremaine Journalism Fellowship for Curators, Sadaf Padder presents an exhibition to offer insight into her curatorial process.
I’m a Florida Drag Queen and I’m Scared
I’m truly at a loss for what to do for work and what kind of life I can expect to live.