Funny Guys Finish Last

Philip Roth and Bruce Jay Friedman were rising stars in the 1960s. Roth became part of the canon. Friedman became “that guy who wrote Splash.”

Royal Flush

A new film reinvents Queen Esther as the very first Bachelorette

Cast Away

Fishnets and fingerless gloves at a Pittsburgh casting call as Michael Chabon’s first novel heads to the screen

Suburban Cowboy

What happens when a Wyatt Earp wannabe goes astray in the Valley

No More Tears

Journeyman actor Bernard Rachelle gets his big break, and a chance to improv with Denzel, in The Inside Man

Mixed Metaphors

Transamerica’s heroine finds herself negotiating a number of identities

My Bachelor Uncle

Long before Brokeback, John Schlesinger zoomed in on closeted heartbreak. Plus: An audio interview with Ian Buruma

Sweet and Lowdown

Dani Levy on his groundbreaking comedy that swept the German Oscars

Forged Reunions

A picture of post-Soviet provincial life, both Jewish and gentile

Barbie, Daughter of Ruth

Tiffany Shlain reaches back to the Pleistocene era to explain assimilation in America

Road Map

A riddle for the Israeli filmmaker Amos Gitai

Spelling Errors

How Bee Season lost its sting on the screen. Plus: An audio interview with author Myla Goldberg.

The Love Above

Faith-based acting taken to new heights

Character Flaw

Fagin’s dearest companions have been villains and thieves. This time Roman Polanski makes him a victim.

A Novel Ending

Liev Schreiber pulls a switch on Everything Is Illuminated

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