By Nate Bloom
A Danish Film Re-Make and More
“After the Wedding” is an American re-make of an acclaimed 2006 Danish film of the same name that was co-written by and directed by SUSANNE BIER, 58. Bier, a Danish Jew, also directed “In a Better World” (2007 Oscar for best foreign language film) and “Bird Box,” a 2018 Netflix film. It was a critical hit and attracted a huge audience.
The re-make is directed by and written by BART FREUNDLICH, 49. Freundlich, whose father is Jewish, has been married to Julianne Moore since 2003. Capsule plot: Isobel (Michelle Williams) runs an orphanage in India. She travels to New York to meet Theresa (Moore), a possible huge benefactor. The meeting falls a day before the wedding of Theresa’s daughter. Things get complicated when Isobel realizes that she knew Theresa’s husband many years before. Opens Aug. 30 at the Mariemont 3 theater.
Inspired by recent events – like the Greenland “purchase offer” fiasco – I’d like to note that Denmark, Bier’s homeland, should hold a special place in the hearts of all Jews and it’s certainly a country worthy of universal respect. As you may know, the Danish underground was tipped-off by a friendly German that the Gestapo planned to round-up the country’s Jews on Rosh Hashanah (Oct. 1, 1943). Jewish communal leaders were warned and hundreds, perhaps thousands of Danes sprung into action and arranged the transport, by fishing boats, of 7,200 Danish Jews (90% of the Jewish population) to nearby neutral Sweden. Danish diplomats constantly inquired about the 500 Jews who were caught and taken to a concentration camp. Because of these inquiries, all but 51 of the 500 survived the Holocaust.
Famous Danish Jews include Susanne Bier, comedian VICTOR BORGE (1909-2000), and Nobel Prize winning physicist NIELS BOHR (1885-1962). Bier’s parents were ferried to Sweden; Borge was lucky: he was in Sweden when the Nazis occupied Denmark in 1940; Bohr escaped to Sweden on Sept. 29, 1943. Right after he arrived he persuaded the King of Sweden to immediately announce that Sweden would accept refugees and this announcement spurred on the Danish rescuers.
Fiddler Documentary and More
“Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles” opened in a few cities on Aug. 23. Check local listings for when it opens near you. The NY Times gave it a glowing review.
This documentary tells the “origin story” of the famous 1964 Broadway musical. It features interviews with “Fiddler” lyricist SHELDON HARNICK, now 95; “Fiddler” producer HAL PRINCE, who died last month, age 91; original cast member Austin Pendelton, 79 (“Motel” the tailor); playwright HARVEY FIERSTEIN, 65, who starred as Tevye in a 2004 revival; CHAIM TOPOL, now 83, who played Tevye in the 1971 film; and writers FRAN LEBOWITZ, 68, NATHAN ENGLANDER, 49, and CALVIN TRILLIN, 83.
As you might have heard, Kate McKinnon, who has played Justice RUTH BADER GINSBURG on “SNL” met the Justice for the first time when they both happened to attend a Yiddish language production of “Fiddler” on the same night (Aug. 13). This acclaimed off-Broadway version is produced by the Folksbiene theater company. Justice Ginsburg, 86, and McKinnon posed for a photo together and were given a backstage tour by Oscar-winner JOEL GREY, 87, the show’s director. Grey’s father, MICKEY KATZ (1909-1975), was famous for doing Yiddish-language parodies of famous tunes.
More Netflix 50 Best
Last week, I noted that the NY Times recently published a list of the “Best 50 TV Shows Now on Netflix” and I mentioned a few with a strong Jewish connection. Here are three more: “Big Mouth” is an adult language animated comedy which follows a group of seventh graders who are constantly tormented by monsters who embody their uncontrollable adolescent impulses. NICK KROLL, 41, voices eight major characters and a raft of minor ones; JESSI KLEIN, 44, voices Jessi Glaser, a Jewish character who had a bat mitzvah in episode 9; JENNY SLATE, 37, and MAYA RUDOLPH, 47, voice about five characters, each. Also, the character Andrew Glouberman (voiced by John Mulaney), is Jewish, too.
Everybody knows that RACHEL BLOOM, 32, the star of the recently concluded series “My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” is “very Jewish.” You may not know the entire series is now on Netflix. Not concluded is “Glow”, a hit Netflix series about professional women wrestlers. Its third season was recently released. ALISON BRIE, 36, plays Ruth, the lead character. JACKIE TOHN, 38, plays Melanie, a Jewish character and (spoiler alert!) – Melanie has a seder this season.