The Jewish Soul: Classics of Yiddish Cinema

Too often segregated within an academic and cultural niche, Yiddish cinema is in fact a varied and vibrant genre ripe for reappraisal. Whether shot in the fields of Poland or makeshift studios in Manhattan, Yidishe Kino endure not only as precious documents of a vanishing culture, but a fascinating genre unto itself, with its unique blend of schmaltz and shtick, a dash of operetta, often overlaid with brooding atmosphere. Restored by Lobster Films, Paris, presented by Kino Lorber, this series showcases careful new translations by Yiddish cultural historian Allen Lewis Rickman, which preserve the clever wordplay and conveys the fluidity of the multi-lingual dialogue.


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The Jewish Soul: Classics of Yiddish Cinema - The Dybbuk

A young bride is possessed by the spirit of her dead husband’s dislocated soul. Based on the Yiddish theater’s most memorable play.


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The Jewish Soul: Classics of Yiddish Cinema - American Matchmaker

“Nice young man” and Mama’s boy Leo Fuchs (“the Yiddish Fred Astaire”) can’t get himself married (eight broken engagements), so he becomes a schadchen — matchmaker.


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The Jewish Soul: Classics of Yiddish Cinema - Her Second Mother

Quintessential shund — lowbrow Second Avenue entertainment — that’s got it all: Filial sacrifice! Suffering parents! Coincidences! Amnesia! Shtick! Score by Sholom Seconda (“Bay Mir Bistu Sheyn”) and comic relief from the great Yetta Zwerling.


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The Jewish Soul: Classics of Yiddish Cinema - Mir Kumen On (Children Must Laugh)

Polish-made window into a little socialist paradise: a rural tuberculosis sanatorium set up by Jewish workers’ organizations for poor city kids, run democratically by the young patients themselves.


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The Jewish Soul: Classics of Yiddish Cinema - Tevya

Maurice Schwartz, the greatest of all Tevyas, recreates his original stage role as the philosophical shtetl dairyman in viciously anti-Semitic Czarist Russia. Based on the Sholom Aleichem stories.


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The Jewish Soul: Classics of Yiddish Cinema - Overture To Glory

In strictly-segregated Poland, a young cantor — the legendary Moyshe Oysher — succumbs to the allure of Gentile culture and joins the Warsaw Opera. Based on the true story that inspired The Jazz Singer.


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The Jewish Soul: Classics of Yiddish Cinema - Eli Eli

Esther Field stars in this heartbreaking melodrama of an aging couple forced by their selfish children to separate from one another when they fall upon economic hard times.


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The Jewish Soul: Classics of Yiddish Cinema - The Yiddish King Lear

Adapted from the perennially performed 1892 play by Jacob Gordon, THE YIDDISH KING LEAR observes the aging patriarch whose family and health rapidly crumble after he divides his estate among his three daughters.


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The Jewish Soul: Classics of Yiddish Cinema - Motel, the Operator

A grand tragedy punctuated with outrageous twists of fate, the story follows Motel, a sewing machine operator who runs afoul of his boss, loses his family and his memory. Years later, by Providence, he is given the opportunity to reunite with the child he had never known.


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The Jewish Soul: Classics of Yiddish Cinema - Three Daughters

This rarely-seen later work by Yiddish cinema mogul Joseph Seiden observes the hardships and heartaches of three sisters as they seek romantic happiness, while struggling to remain faithful to the traditions of their parents.


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