In terms of Jewish fare, Hollywood waltzed instead with a German film, a live action short, titled â€œSpielzeugland,â€ or â€œToyland.â€ Cynics may say that Hollywood continues to like its celluloid Jews set in World War II, and not in the late 20th Century. Who knows? In the opinion of one Los Angeles based film critic, the award bypassed Israel’s serious antiwar film in favor of a softer Japanese story. Why? Because most voters for this award skew older and historically are drawn to lighter themes.â€œSpielzeugland,â€ was co-written and directed by Jochen Alexander Freydank, who was born in East Berlin. Freydank was rejected by film schools five times. He spent four years on this 14 minute short which opens with two boys at a piano lesson. Their teacher, Herr Silberstein, is teaching them to play â€œHinei Mah Tov Umanayim.â€ Heinrich, and his neighbor, David Silberstein, are best friends and blood brothers. The Silberstein’s are being deported this week with the other Jews, and Heinrich tells his mother, that he wants to join them. He can’t, she tells him, for they are going to Toyland, where the teddy bears are very large, and Heinrich is forbidden to go. When Herr Silberstein is beaten on the street, he tells Heinrich that he was attacked by a rhino. It is their secret. On the day of the deportation, Heinrich is missing. He has gone to the train station with the Jews. His mother, frantic with fear, runs to the depot to find and retrieve her sonâ€¦ â€¦ Speaking of sons, Joaquin R. (Leaf) Phoenix has said that he is quitting the acting profession, and his role in â€œTwo Loversâ€ is his last. Well, you know what they say: Once you play Jewish, you need to do something Newish, and so Phoenix is going to focus on his music and rapping. What can I say? Putting on Jew-face is just too much for some thespians. In this film, he plays a depressed and suicidal Jewish man (yes, I know the actor’s maternal grandparents are Jews from The Bronx), Leonard, who returns to live with is parents in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. Leonard is set up with Sandra and they hit it off. Things are looking up. A few days later he meets a non Jewish goddess, Michelle, and falls for her as well. He is torn between his two lovers, two lives, and two paths. The path of Sandra, her brother’s bar mitzvah, a life in a Jewish community, or a path with Michelle. This sort of role might make me quit acting as well.
.. Speaking of dysfunctional love… did you hear that comedian Jerry Seinfeld will be starring in a reality show in which he and other comedians counsel couples in rocky relationships. And why not? Jerry is funny. Jerry knows dysfunction. Jerry used to date and live with a teenage girlfriend, Shoshana. And Jerry scored his wife after meeting her in a gym. She had just returned from her honeymoon with her new husband, a scion of a wealthy Jewish family in Manhattan. She promptly got divorced and married Jerry. Oh yes, he can give lots of advice.