San Francisco Jewish Film Festival 37, Week 2

Gilbert Gottfried, rehabilitated. Fritz Lang, as amazing as ever.

Highlights of the second week of the 37th Jewish Film Festival look at disparate figures from Hollywood both old and not quite so old, and not always strictly in Hollywood. Alexandra Dean’s documentary Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story celebrates the famously beautiful actress who got probably too much credit for displaying the first known instance of nudity in a mainstream motion picture in 1933’s culture-destroying Ecstasy, but because she was pretty never received sufficient credit for being a major brainiac whose disregarded work during World War II laid the foundation for the wifi you’re probably using to read these words.

In its fictionalized depiction of the events that led up to the filming of Lang’s 1931 masterpiece M, Gordian Maugg’s noirish Fritz Lang is downright Kafka-esque — which is to say, the picture is reminiscent of Steven Soderbergh’s underrated film Kafka, as opposed to the writings of Franz Kafka, though there are elements of ol’ Franz in Fritz as well. Continuing the decriminalization of Gilbert Gottfried that began with last year’s Life, Animated, Neil Berkeley’s documentary Gilbert looks at the personal life of controversial comedian and voice actor — and old-timey comedy historian via his indispensable podcast — only to find that, beyond the dirty jokes and intentionally grating persona, he’s also a devoted father and husband. Who knew?

San Francisco Jewish Film Festival 37, Week 2
Now playing at the Castro Theatre.

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