Author Archive | Bari Biern


Film Review: ‘Hava Nagila’ by Bari Biern

First, take out your No. 2 pencils and answer this question:  Where did the traditional Jewish song, “Hava Nagila” originate? (1)    Jerusalem (2)    Warsaw (3)    Miami Okay, it’s a trick question. The real answer will surprise you, and it’s only one of the many fascinating facts revealed in producer/director Roberta Grossman’s Hava Nagila (The Movie). To […]

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David and Jackie Siegel. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

Film Review: ‘The Queen of Versailles’ by Bari Biern

The Queen of Versailles illustrates perfectly the roller-coaster-flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants aspect of documentary filmmaking. The director straps herself in, points the camera and holds on for dear life. The Queen of Versailles illustrates perfectly the roller-coaster-flying-by-the –seat-of-your-pants aspect of documentary filmmaking. The director straps herself in, points the camera and holds on for dear life. The subjects […]

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Deborah Voigt in 'Götterdämmerung.' Photo by Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera.

SILVERDOCS: ‘Wagner’s Dream’ by Bari Biern

Wagner’s Dream (USA) 112 minutes Richard Wagner spent 25 years composing the Ring Cycle, a 16-hour magnum opus, largely based on Norse and German myths. The Ring is comprised of four operas (Das Rheingold, Die Walkure, Siegfried, and Götterdämmerung). Even by grand opera standards, the Ring has always been a beast to produce, requiring outsized commitments of […]

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the world

SILVERDOCS: ‘The World Before Her’ by Bari Biern

The World Before Her  (Canada) 90 minutes With the arrival of foreign corporations in India, as well as satellite tv and the Internet, some young Indian women are now eager to escape their restrictive patriarchal society and embrace more western customs. Beauty contests are one possible path to that end. Ruji Singh is beginning a […]

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Governor Ann Richards.

SILVERDOCS: ‘Ann Richards’ Texas’ by Bari Biern

Ann Richards was a whip-smart feisty feminist elected to govern the state of Texas. She was the second woman and the last Democrat to hold that office. Richards attained national prominence as the keynote speaker at the 1988 Democratic national convention, when she famously skewered Republican presidential candidate George H. W. Bush, “Poor George! He […]

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‘SILVERDOCS’ Now Open Through June 24th by Bari Biern

Yesterday the AFI-Discovery Channel SILVERDOCS Documentary Festival opened and will run through June 24th. SILVERDOCS is celebrating its tenth anniversary at the historic AFI Silver Theatre and surrounding venues in downtown Silver Spring, MD. This weeklong festival – the largest of its kind in the US – will present 114 films from 44 countries, selected from […]

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Eric McCormack, Kerry Butler, Corey Brill and James Earl Jones in a scene from Gore Vidal's "The Best Man." Photo by Joan Marcus.

NYC Theater Review: ‘Gore Vidal’s The Best Man’ by Bari Biern

On March 31, 1960, Gore Vidal’s political drama, The Best Man, premiered on Broadway. The play was set in two posh hotel suites at a national political convention, as one presidential candidate was poised to release potentially harmful information about his opponent’s health.  Just a few months later, life imitated art at the Democratic National […]

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Jack Black (Bernie Tiede) and Shirley MacLaine (Marjorie Nugent) in 'Bernie.' Photo courtesy of Millennium Entertainment.

Film Review:’ Bernie’ by Bari Biern

Not since Mr. Joyboy, the mortuary cosmetician from Evelyn Waugh’s The Loved One, has there been a more memorable mortician than Bernie Tiede. In addition to making the residents of Carthage Texas look better dead than they did alive, Bernie sings in the church choir, directs – and usually stars in – local musical productions and […]

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Film Review: ‘Blue Like Jazz’ by Bari Biern

Steve Taylor directs this indie film, adapted from a 2003 memoir by American author, Don Miller.   In Blue Like Jazz, nineteen-year-old Miller (Marshall Allman) is a dedicated parishioner who volunteers at his small Texan Baptist church until he discovers that his mother (Jenny Littleton) is having a fling with the married youth pastor (Jason Marsden). […]

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Jiro Ono in 'Jiro Dreams of Sushi,', a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

Film Review: ‘JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI’ by Bari Biern

His restaurant seats ten. He serves no appetizers, no side dishes, no desserts. He consistently earns three Michelin stars, a rating that implies that the dining experience alone is worth a trip to Tokyo.  He is 86-year-old master chef Jiro Ono and the only item on his menu is sushi. Sushi is his life’s work […]

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