Yiddish film was part of the modern gust of wind which threatened to destabilize Jewish society during the first decades of the twentieth century and one can find in it reflections of social, psychological and spiritual turmoil.
This cinematic treasure allows for a unique look into three dynamic and most dramatic decades in the Jewish sphere- days full of promise and new opportunities, while at the same time echoing a growing distress and anticipating imminent tragedy.
Many films deal with the fracture of the Jewish traditional community and the Jewish family during an age of massive immigration, urbanization, and modernization. Some deal with the tension between Jewish and gentile professions such as Chazan and opera singer; others deal with politics, education and Jewish identity, gender issues, religion and secularization, dibbuks and mystics.
After the war, Yiddish film lost its audience, its creative forces. The Yiddish cinema stars who did survive, the falling stars, expressed the path of the Yiddish cinema which was bright and fast both in its ascent and decline.
During the course we will examine the artistic cooperation within important cinema productions in the Polish, Russian and American scenes and the reception of those films. The course will also examine comparative aspects of Yiddish and general cinema with its avant-garde and mainstream tendencies as well as its contribution to the Hollywood project.