A woman sprawls face-down on a table, her face in a breakfast dish and a banana peel near her knee. Soon she wakes and arises with jerky but highly choreographed movements coordinated with a whimsical soundtrack. She turns on the television, a Japanese announcer appears, shuffling papers, and she quickly shuts it off. As she turns away, the television flicks back on of its own accord, and we’ve entered the slightly magical but recognizable world of an Etgar Keret story, recently made into a short film.
For the past six weeks, members of Beth Sholom Congregation & Talmud Torah in Potomac, Maryland, have attended services in the parking lot.
This year some Jews will use Tisha B’Av as a day to reflect upon the trauma of the ongoing pandemic. When cities across the world shut down this spring, the reality of social distancing and quarantine, accompanied by images of abandoned roads, empty subways and desolate public spaces, evoked the opening lines of the book of Lamentations, traditionally chanted on Tisha B’Av in many communities.
Repetition mixed with monotony is not usually high up on Hollywood’s list of project themes, which is why Hulu’s Palm Springs was such a delightful surprise. The film stars Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) and Cristin Milioti (How I Met Your Mother) as two apathetic California wedding guests who get stuck in a Groundhog Day-like time loop, forcing them to relive the couple’s special day over and over again. For a film that was shot in pre-coronavirus times, Palm Springs is surprisingly relevant.