The Jerusalem Post
Time for some romance
Movies for Tu Be’av at the Jerusalem Cinematheque
Whether you are in love or just looking for a good movie, you can enjoy the romantic movies at the Jerusalem Cinematheque starting on July 22 in honor of Tu Be’av, the Israeli celebration of love.
The series of 20 movies that will be shown throughout 10 days features classics and recent films, from all over the world, including Israel. It’s called the JuLove series in English, but I don’t think this will catch on.
Steven Spielberg’s upcoming reboot of West Side Story has put that movie back in the headlines, and this series provides a rare opportunity to see the original on the big screen during its 60th anniversary year. This is a singalong screening, so consider yourselves warned. This beloved movie, which won 10 Oscars, transposes the Romeo and Juliet story to New York’s Upper West Side with white and Puerto Rican gangs facing off against each other. It starred Natalie Wood in one of her most famous performances as Maria, the Latina heroine. Rita Moreno, the first Puerto Rican to make it in Hollywood, is the standout as the fiery Anita, who is the lead singer in the anthem “America.” Now 89, she has a role in the remake. The athletic choreography by co-director Jerome Robbins is one of the film’s highlights.
Stanley Kramer’s Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner is another Oscar-winning movie from the 1960s. It is about an older couple (Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn) who have to come to terms with the fact that their daughter (Katharine Houghton, Hepburn’s real-life niece) has fallen in love with a black man (Sidney Poitier). Even though he happens to be a medical expert, a really nice guy and, well, Sidney Poitier, one of the handsomest leading men of all time, this was a real issue at that time. The romance here is also about the long-married parents, played by reallife long-term lovers Tracy and Hepburn. This was ailing Tracy’s final film and Hepburn won her second Oscar for it.
THE VERSION of Affair to
Remember that everyone remembers – and which was referenced in Nora Ephron’s
Sleepless in Seattle – is the 1957 film by Leo McCarey starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. The two leads have a shipboard romance when they are on their way to marry other people and agree to meet at the Empire State Building in six months if they still love each other. You probably know what happens next, but when you get the chance to see Cary Grant on the big screen – go!
Ernst Lubitsch’s sophisticated 1932 comedy/crime caper
Trouble in Paradise is about con artists and a love triangle. Other Hollywood movies in the series include Moonstruck, Reality Bites and Billy Wilder’s Cold War rom-com/satire
One, Two, Three starring James Cagney. In the 2017 Marjorie Prime, an elderly woman (Lois Smith, who was in Five Easy Pieces) brings back a hologram version of her late husband
(Mad Men’s Jon Hamm).
James Ivory and Ismail Merchant’s 1987 adaptation of EM Forster’s novel Maurice, tells a story of love among upperclass and working-class homosexuals in Britain before World War I and stars Hugh Grant, James Wilby, Rupert Graves and Ben Kingsley.
Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni were at their most gorgeous in Vittorio De Sica’s 1964 farce, Marriage Italian Style. Unfortunately, the film has only Hebrew titles.
Marcel Carne’s Les Enfants du Paradis (1945), an epic love story about actors, thieves and mimes in the 1800s starring Arletty and Jean-Louis Barrault, is considered to be one of the greatest romantic movies of all time. It also has an interesting back story. It was filmed during the Nazi occupation of France and its designer and composer, who were Jews, often had to hide from Nazis who would visit the set. Starving extras reportedly stole food from the banquet scenes. But as soon as the war ended, the movie opened in Paris and around the world, and people say it is still shown somewhere in Paris every day. The print that will be shown has English titles.
Lovesick on Nana Street is a 1995 Israeli movie by Savi Gabizon about a nebbish who lives with his mother and falls in love with a beautiful actress, even though he knows he has no chance with her. The nebbish is played by Moshe Ivgy, the actor recently convicted of multiple counts of sexual harassment. At this moment, it may be hard to forget that, but Ivgy is a key figure in Israeli movie history. He was one of the first Mizrahi actors to achieve mainstream success and there is no reason to avoid his movies.