Monthly Archive for: ‘October, 2013’

‘Zigzag Kid,’ film fest charmer, profiles a rascally teen

Film newcomer Thomas Simon stars in the title role of “The Zigzag Kid.”


Nono is an exceedingly spirited, exceedingly imaginative Dutch kid who draws attention through mischievous stunts — particularly when they don’t work.

But he can be disarming.

And so can “The Zigzag Kid,” the coming-of-age film in which Thomas Simon stars as Nono, a 13-year-old two days from his bar mitzvah.

“Zigzag,” the opening-night entry of this year’s San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, will play at the California Theater in Berkeley on Aug. 6 and at the Rafael Theatre in Marin on Aug. 12.

The movie’s storyline is deceptively simple: Nono wants to emulate his dad, whom they both steadfastly believe is the best police inspector in the world, and in the process searches for details about his mother’s death.

Adventures ensue.

Although that may not sound wholeheartedly enchanting, when you add the slickest thief in the world; the inventive secretary-girlfriend of the boy’s father; and a seductive chanteuse marvelously portrayed by Isabella Rossellini (who’s looking more and more like her mother, Ingrid Bergman, as she ages), you find yourself devouring a cinematic stew spiced to please.

The 95-minute film — a fast-paced, subtitled Dutch-Belgian detective puzzler — contains way more whimsy and fantasy than a viewer might expect.

Plus amusing umbrella hijinks. And disguises. And chases.

With a modicum of poignancy.

And that leaves no room to talk about the charming flick’s top-notch production values.

Purists may object to the movie’s blurring of good and bad, but the movie’s magic will make that mindset disappear quickly for most filmgoers.

The SFJFF, the world’s first and still largest Jewish film festival, this year — its 23rd — is screening 74 films from 26 countries in nine Bay Area venues.

Berkeley and Marin screenings both will include an outstanding documentary, “Dancing in Jaffa,” which traces a world-class dancer’s efforts to teach dance to Jewish-Israeli and Palestinian-Israeli youngsters and then pair them in competition.

Another Marin highlight, which also will be shown in Oakland, is “The Trials of Muhammad Ali,” which explores issues of race, identity, power and faith.

A total of 39SFJFF films were slated for the California Theatre, 2113 Kittredge St., Berkeley, between Aug. 2 to 8. Thirteen films will screen at the Rafael Theatre, 1118 Fourth St., San Rafael, between Aug. 10 and 12. Festival information can be found at (415) 621-0523 or

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