Dan Friedman

Archive for the ‘Films’ Category

25 Years With Sacha BC

In Comedy, Culture, Films, Visual Media on March 11, 2016 at 9:48 pm

For the loudest person in the room, Sacha Baron Cohen took a while to find his public voice. Or voices.

From the time I met him as a 16 year old, through our college years and while we lived together, Sacha was always the center of attention and always the funniest person around. But people underestimate his commitment to craft: he would write and rewrite jokes on his antique Mac in the basement and spend hours repeating phrases until he had accents and intonations right.

Read more: Forward
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Talking to Nobby From “The Brothers Grimsby”

In Comedy, Culture, Films, Football (Soccer), Visual Media on March 11, 2016 at 9:50 am

I’d arranged to meet Sacha Baron Cohen to discuss his new film “The Brothers Grimsby,” which opens in American theaters on March 11. When I arrived at the back room of the bar to which I’d been directed, though, I was greeted by a tall, slightly pot-bellied man, who looked the spitting image of Liam Gallagher. He was holding a beer in his bandaged right hand, wearing an off-brand number 19 England kit, and appeared not to have washed in a couple of days. He greeted me warmly, thrust a beer in my direction, splashing me slightly, and indicated that we should start the interview.

Read more: 8by8Mag

Sderot: Israel in (Rocking) Microcosm

In Culture, Films, Interviews, Politics on February 20, 2016 at 4:12 pm

Everyone should be able to agree on Sderot. Leftists, rightists, Jews, non-Jews. A small settlement of folks — unwanted by the countries they’d lived in for centuries, and thrown together in an inhospitable land within internationally accepted boundaries by the will of the central government — have combined to make a vibrant community whose musical output has transformed the region’s culture.

Hipsters Go Middle Age

In Comedy, Culture, Films, Travel on September 22, 2014 at 9:51 pm

For most people, the middle of life isn’t so much marked by crisis as by a general, if heightened, anxiety. As your body gradually succumbs to entropy and gravity, you realize that history has taken place, and you have barely participated. You weren’t Madonna, you never won Wimbledon, you didn’t stop global warming.

And yet you carry on. You may no longer surprise yourself, but you make the best of the ragtag set of memories, skills and achievements you have. You live your life.

 

Read more at: Souciant, Film

(It’s Not Easy) Being Daniel Friedman

In Books, Culture, Films, Politics on February 14, 2014 at 11:08 pm

It’s not easy being me, Daniel Friedman. On top of the cares of delightful family, domestic finance and the Jewish Daily Forward, there’s the existential angst of living in a world of doppelgangers — whole crowds of Daniel Friedmans swarming around me. It’s like living in Charlie Kaufman’s “Being John Malkovich” except instead of everyone looking like me, everyone just has my name.

We Are All the “Other” Israel

In Culture, Films, Politics, Visual Media on November 26, 2013 at 9:15 am

At some point in the evolution of American national thought Martin Luther King Jr. went from being a political firebrand to being a national icon. You have to be pretty far outside the mainstream in 2013 to object to Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Likewise the Other Israel Film Festival started out as a way to cover those aspects of Israel that mainstream media didn’t talk about, mostly the Arab experience. Watching DAM, the Israeli-Palestinian hip hop group, rap in the auditorium of the JCC in Manhattan on November 10, 2007, felt subversive: What would Michael Steinhardt think?

But no longer.

Taking Ai Weiwei to Sundance

In Culture, Exhibitions, Films, Interviews on January 22, 2012 at 11:49 pm

Alison Klayman’s debut feature, “Never Sorry” premiered at Sundance on January 22 to a standing ovation. In it she documents the recent life of Ai Weiwei, the West’s favourite Chinese artist and activist champion of political transparency. I talked to her about her film, the artist and growing up Jewish in Philadelphia.

To Bee or Not To Bee

In Films, Food on July 3, 2011 at 3:53 am

Getting honey for Rosh Hashanah is the least of your problems.

Since 2006, farmers and scientists have been worrying about colony collapse disorder — the name of a mysterious syndrome which has killed 5 million bee colonies and literally billions of bees in North America. This is a big problem, and not just because of the honey. As noted food activist Michael Pollan points out early in the film, “Queen of the Sun,” 40% of our food comes from bee-pollinated harvests. If the bees die, we’re stuck eating bread or oatmeal all the time — or not eating at all.