Daily Archives: December 17, 1993

Loyalties

Based on a play by John Galsworthy, this 1933 British feature about anti-Semitism stars Basil Rathbone as a wealthy Jewish businessman sued for slander after he accuses an army officer (Miles Mander) of stealing 100 pounds from his wallet during a weekend house party for aristocrats. It might be argued that the film itself isn’t entirely free of anti-Semitism; as Frank S. Nugent wrote in the New York Times at the time, Rathbone’s “Shylock in modern dress . . . gets his pound of flesh in this drama, but finds his triumph empty,” which correctly implies that the character is something of a stereotype from the outset. Yet Galsworthy’s study in tribal loyalties has some less-than-obvious points to make, and Basil Dean’s direction shows some flair and genuine cinematic panache. A new 35-millimeter print of this fascinating relic, recently uncovered and restored by the British Film Institute’s National Film Archive, will be shown; cosponsored by the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies. Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson, Saturday, December 18, 6:30, and Sunday, December 19, 2:00, 443-3737.… Read more »

Jit

A pleasantly unpretentious low-budget musical from Zimbabwe (1990), written and directed by Michael Raeburn, author of a well-known nonfiction book about Zimbabwe, We Are Everywhere. The plot concerns a sort of working-class rural Candide called UK (Dominic Makuvachuma), who is knocked unconscious when he falls out of a taxicab and then falls in love with the woman, Sofi (Sibongile Nene), he gazes up at when he comes to. He’s determined to marry her, but her father insists on a “bride price,” an expensive stereo and a lot of cash. UK sets out to obtain these things, but has to contend with both his traditional “guiding spirit” (Winnie Ndemera), who wants him to earn money for his parents in the countryside and keep her floating in beer, and Sofi’s vindictive boyfriend (Farai Sevenzo). The prerecorded music is by Oliver Mtukudzi and other Zimbabwe pop stars. Music Box, Friday through Tuesday, December 17 through 21.… Read more »