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The Autry asks 'What Makes a Jewish Movie? this Sunday

Los Angeles Times Film Critic Kenneth Turan and Vincent Brook, a film scholar and author of “Driven to Darkness: Jewish Émigré Directors and the Rise of Film Noir," will examine contributions of Jewish directors from Billy Wilder to the Coen brothers on Sunday at the Autry's "What Makes a Jewish Movie?"

Their conversation will be bookended by two movies directed by Jewish filmmakers.

The event is presented in association with the Autry exhibit, "Jews in the Los Angeles Mosaic."

PHOTOS: Billion-dollar movie club

Screening at 11:30 a.m. is Jewish emigre director Fred Zinnnemann's underrated 1948 thriller "Act of Violence," which Brook describes as "a compendium of noir elements."  Robert Ryan stars as a vengeful World War II vet who stalks his former commanding officer (Van Heflin) for betraying his men's plan to escape from a Nazi POW camp.

Turan and Brook's conversation commences at 2 p.m., followed by Joel and Ethan Coen's 2009 dark comedy "A Serious Man," about a Midwestern Jewish professor (Michael Stuhlbarg) whose professional and personal life begins to unravel. Turan believes it is the siblings' "most personal, most intensely Jewish film, a pitch-perfect comedy of despair that, against some odds, turns out to be one of their most universal as well."

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