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Monday, January 16, 2006

Two Documentaries 

Since Celeste was born, Evelin and I have only made it to two theatrical releases — Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith and Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit — when we had a grandparent on hand to keep an eye on Celeste. However, it has become a fairly common thing to grab a DVD or two to watch on Friday and/or Saturday night after she's gone to bed.

Often we're picking things from a bit list of movies that one or the other of us has expressed an interest in, but there are times when I get distracted and pick up something totally random ... like the two documentaries I grabbed this weekend.

The lighter, and weaker, of the two was My Date With Drew, which chronicled a sometimes-not-so-engaging guy's attempt to get one date with Drew Barrymore. His budget for the film was $1,100 he won on a game show where the winning answer was "Drew Barrymore" and a high-end video camera bought from Circuit City with the intention of returning it within 30 days for a full refund. The best bit, ironically enough, was one of the DVD extras that talked about how they built buzz for the film on the festival circuit and finally got it picked up for distribution. Overall, I enjoyed it more than Evelin did ...

Heavier, but much more engaging, was Divan, the story of a young woman who left her Hassidic upbringing and was looking to reconnect with her father and her past by tracking down a family heirloom that had been left in Hungary after World War II — a divan that a string of important rebbes had slept on. It not only gave a good deal of insight into the world of the Hasidism, but also looked a the often torn feelings of those who'd rejected the strictures of that world but who were still tied to by their family and upbringing. Plus, much of it was in Yiddish (with a chunk in Hungarian and a little in Ukrainian).

The Yiddish dialogue was interesting because I could pick up a few words here and there from borrowings that had moved into English and a little bit more from what I recognized from German, but most of it was just something that sounded familiar but not at the same time.

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