Defamation makes its local debut tonight at CMA

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Like an Israeli Michael Moore, Yoav Shamir sets out to find out if anti-Semitism really exists in Defamation, an intriguing documentary that makes its local debut tonight at 7 at the Cleveland Museum of Art Lecture Hall. It also shows at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 7. Here's our review of the film.

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Defamation (Israel/Denmark/USA/Austria, 2009) An Israeli Jew, Yoav Shamir explores the nature of anti-Semitism in this very personal documentary. As an Israeli Jew, Shamir says he’s never experienced anti-Semitism and sets out to debunk some of what he perceives to be myths. Like a Jewish Michael Moore, he conducts a series of interviews designed to make some sense of a socio-political problem. He first visits his grandmother, who tells him about his family background, and he then follows a group of high school students as they travel to Europe to study the Holocaust. His methods (there are lots of man-on-the-street interviews) aren’t entirely sound but, like Moore, Shamir is so good-natured as he addresses the issue, you can’t help but sympathize with his ideas, even if they are a bit misguided. ***

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