The return of ‘Fauda,’ the Mossad’s methods and delightful Dr. Ruth

The return of ‘Fauda, (photo credit: YES)
The return of ‘Fauda,
(photo credit: YES)
It’s official: Fauda will be back on YES Action on December 26 at 10 p.m. It’s also been revealed that a significant part of the third season will be set in the Gaza Strip. The series won’t begin streaming on Netflix until sometime in 2020 though, but US viewers who miss Lior Raz’s tough-guy persona can see him in the international action thriller by Michael Bay, 6 Underground, which will be released on December 13.
If you’re interested in real-life stories of the intelligence community, as opposed to the dramatized version of counterintelligence operatives in Fauda, you’ll want to check out a new series called For His Eyes Only: The Politics of the Mossad, which will be broadcast in three parts on YES Docu on December 9-11 at 9 p.m., as well as on YES VOD and STING TV. As the title suggests, it focuses on the delicate interplay between the prime ministers and the intelligence agency and looks at how politics and personalities have affected the Mossad’s decisions.
The new documentary, Ask Dr. Ruth, by Ryan White, is a lively look at a fascinating figure in American culture, whose life story has also played out in Germany and Israel. It will be available on HOT VOD starting on December 5. The film, which combines interviews, archival footage and animation to tell the life story of Dr. Ruth Westheimer, shows how revolutionary a figure she was when she burst on the scene with her call-in radio show, and focuses on how her family and the trauma she suffered in the Holocaust shaped her. Her delightful charm makes the movie extremely entertaining. It was an audience favorite at the Jerusalem Film Festival last summer.
Watching the current season of The Crown, you might not realize that a key character portrayed on the show is buried in Jerusalem. That’s Princess Alice, Prince Philip’s mother, an eccentric chain-smoking nun diagnosed with schizophrenia in her youth, who is portrayed by Jane Lapotaire, and appears in episodes Bubbikins and Coup.
Before her death in 1969, the princess expressed a wish to be buried in Jerusalem, and in 1988, her remains were moved from Windsor Castle to the Church of Mary Magdalene, near the Old City. In 1994, Princess Alice was honored at Yad Vashem as one of the “Righteous Among the Nations” for hiding a Jewish family from the Nazis in Athens during World War II. Prince Philip attended that ceremony. Just last year, Prince William paid a visit and laid a wreath on his great-grandmother’s grave, and his father, Prince Charles, has visited as well.
By now, The Irishman is streaming on Netflix, but I saw it on the big screen in Tel Aviv – it is also showing at movie theaters around the country – and was distinctly underwhelmed. Director Martin Scorsese is clearly fascinated by the disappearance of labor leader Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino) and it is an interesting chapter in American history, but he hasn’t made a fascinating film out of it. I’m not sure younger viewers, raised in an era of diminishing union power, will have any idea after seeing it what the unions really meant to US politics then.
Even more problematic are the so-called “de-aging” techniques used on the principal cast, particularly Robert De Niro, who plays characters over a period of about 40 years. Yes, the technology makes his face look less lined, a sophisticated computer version of what Hollywood used to do for aging actresses playing younger than their true age. But a 76-year-old with an unlined face still cannot pass for a 26-year-old.
It isn’t only that his face is different today. His whole physical style has changed. If you want to see how the young De Niro looked and moved, go to YouTube and find clips of Mean Streets, his first great movie role. In The Crown, the queen says, “Age is rarely kind to anyone,” and sadly, I can’t think of any starker illustration of this truth than comparing De Niro in these two films. Maybe on the small screen this will be less noticeable.