Óscar Reyes-Matute
Óscar Reyes-Matute
Philosophy, kabbalah, screenwriting...

Hollywood and the Jews

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Some friends have been commenting on my FB wall about the presence or importance of Jews in the film industry, in Hollywood.

I made a brief review of some names, with a little historical analysis of World War II and the Cold War, geopolitics and ideology, including Latin America, which I encouraged to share here with my readers in English.

The three greatest musicians in American history are Jews: Aaron Copland, George Gershwin, and Leonard Bernstein.

Without them you cannot understand American nationalist music (Appalachian Spring, Copland), the black opera (Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess”) the musical (An American in Paris, again Gershwin), West Side Story (Bernstein), Fiddler in the Roof (Sholem Aleichem, Joseph Stein) a special case the latter film, as it was directed by Norman Jewison, who had a Jewish last name, was not Jewish, but everyone in Hollywood -with that name- swore that he was Jew, and he did not deny them, because at that time it was a prestigious denomination of origin.

It was also Jews who reached the definitive codification of the Hollywood script model, which is still unbeatable today (pace Netflix), the three-act model, with five pivot points, mounted on the rails of the Hero’s Journey.

Namely: Julius J. Epstein. Phillip G. Epstein and Howard Koch (Casablanca), or Herman J. Mankiewicz (Citizen Kane), not to mention the Marx Brothers, the Three Stooges, Woody Allen, Steven Spielberg, Louis B. Mayer, Samuel Goldwyn and Jack Warner …

Or the Disney studios, which were full of Jewish cartoonists, animators, and screenwriters engaged in a fierce culture war against the Nazis and Communists during World War II.

When the founders of the industry moved to California from NY, it was because Edison wanted to impose them a monopoly with his cameras, projectors and cinemas. In a small county near Los Angeles (Hollywood), it was sunny all year round, and therefore studios without a roof could be built, to film 12 consecutive months.

Who would go so far from the comfortable east coast? Well, many poor Jewish artists, who made the industry grow, despite the pedantry of New York and Boston academics and critics.

The intellectuals did not believe in these popular cultural products, but the millions of citizens who paid to see them (in the USA and the rest of the world), were a too strong counter-evidence, so they had to swallow thick.

Additionally, after the 1917 revolution, Lenin entrusted Einsenstein with the ideological program of the cinema of the revolution (circa 1919), which he codified in his theory of analytical film editing (Notes of a Director, by Ed. Bruguera), and in films such as The Battleship Potemkin.

Since the Russian people were illiterate, Lenin thought that the cinema was the best tool to transmit the ideological content of the revolution, and that is why thousands of popular cinemas were built, and the Soviet industry was created – Sovexportfilms.

The Germans had their Leni Riefenstahl, the Soviets their Einsenstein, and the Americans their Jewish scriptwriters, musicians, directors and actors, because World War II and the Cold War were also being fought on the screens.

Hollywood won hands down. In the USA there is no ministry of culture, as in France and sometimes in Venezuela. The Ministry of Culture, which transmits the founding values ​​that sustain North American society, is a billion-dollar industry called Hollywood, which has sold the American dream all over the planet, with majestic profits.

Imperialism also has a mental component, of admiration and desire for emulation, to belong to the empire: everyone wanted to be Roman, they wanted their roads, their bread, their circus, their army, their lex.

Everyone wants the green card, study at Harvard or succeed in Hollywood. The truth is that I don’t know anyone who wants to be Chinese or Russian (pace Snowden). And that shine to the empire has been given by the Jews of Hollywood.

Latin America? A disaster, as always.

We had a vigorous cinema in Mexico, with some good films in Argentina and a few in Venezuela.

But with the Soviet intrusion in Cuba, the cinema became ideological, to sell the values ​​of the revolution. In other words, the Soviet model was implanted in Latin America.

And a political idiot (in the Greek sense of the term) like García Márquez – a wonderful novelist but the worst screenwriter in the history of Latin American cinema – convinced the silly Venezuelan president Carlos Andrés Pérez to finance the San Antonio de los Baños School in Cuba, to create a cinema that would undermine the foundations of the few democratic governments we had in Latin America, with money from those same countries that they were going to destroy.

It was not until Mexican filmmakers got rid of the curse of revolutionary cinema, when they took their own path with films like “Amores Perros”, “Y Tu Mamá También”, and also crossed the Rio Grande to go to Hollywood, when the cinema in Spanish from Latin America took off, with names like Iñárritu, Cuarón, Arriaga, Del Toro, or, in the south, Puenzo, Campanella, Lelio …  All of them Oscar winners.

And all the latter, using the Hollywood model, tasted with its latino spice, its chimichurri, its guacamole and its Creole flavor, of course. Hollywood and its Jews showed them the way.

About the Author
Óscar Reyes-Matute (Matu / מאתו), lives in Caracas. He's a philosopher graduated at Andrés Bello Catholic University, with a Master in Political Science at USB. He has been Fulbright Visiting Scholar at NYU on American Studies, and professor of political philosophy at UCAB and UCV. He has published academic papers in universities of Venezuela and Europe, and articles in several newspapers. Since 2008, he is dedicated to study Kabbalah at the Bnei Baruch Institute in Petaj Tikva, while works as writer of cinema and television screenplays. He's liryc tenor. Be aware, after a glass of wine, he suddenly can start to sing "Nessun Dorma!"
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