UC Berkeley Library

Representations of Jews and Jewish Life in Film

A Child of the Ghetto. (1910)

Directed by D.W. Griffith. Cast: Kate Bruce, George Nichols, Henry B. Walthall, Dorothy West. After her mother's death, Ruth struggles to support herself as a seamstress. While Ruth delivers shirts to the factory owner, the owner's son steals some money and Ruth is accused of the crime. She flees the ghetto of New York's Lower East Side and hides in the country where a young farmer takes her in and they fall in love. Silent with English intertitles. 16 min. ; ; Credits and other information from the Internet Movie DatabaseSee also:

A Majority of One (1961)

Directed by Mervyn LeRoy. Cast: Rosalind Russell, Alec Guinness, Ray Danton, Madlyn Rhue, Mae Questel, Marc Marno, Gary Vinson, Sharon Hugueny. A gentle love story about a Japanese businessman (played by Alec Guinness) and widower, and a Jewish Brooklyn widow (Rosalind Russell) who meet in Toyko. But before a happy ending can ensue, they must learn again the lessons of tolerance, kindness and forgiveness. Based on the play by Leonard Spigelgass. 149 min.

A Price Above Rubies (UK / USA, 1998)

Written and directed by Boaz Yakin. Featuring Renee Zellweger, Julianna Margules, Christopher Eccleston. Sonia is a young woman who always did just what was expected: she married the right man, moved to the right neighborhood and had a beautiful baby. And yet, when she discovers an exciting world beyond her tightly knit community, it sparks a growing desire for independence that threatens the security of the life she knows. 119 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

A Serious Man (2009)

Directed by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen. Cast: Michael Stuhlbarg, Richard Kind, Fred Melamed, Sari Lennick, Adam Arkin, Amy Landecker, Alan Mandell, Fyvush Finkel, Allen Lewis Rickman, Yelena Shmulenson, Simon Helberg, Katherine Borowitz, Stephen Park. One ordinary man's quest to become a serious man. Physics professor Larry Gopnik can't believe his life: His wife is leaving him for his best friend, his unemployed brother won't move off the couch, someone is threatening his career, his kids are a mystery and his neighbor is tormenting him by sunbathing nude.

Affaire Blum (Blum Affair) (Germany, 1948)

Directed by Erich Engel. Cast: Paul Bildt, Hans Christian Blech, Klaus Becker, Gerhard Bienert. A film based on a true case which occured in the 1920's. An accountant responds to an advertisment and gets murdered for his money. Mr. Blum is blamed for the murder because the accountant was about to give evidence about a tax fraud involving Mr. Blum's company. A dramatic presentation about pre-Hitlerite Germany which relates the story of a Jewish businessman falsely accused by anti-Semitic police. 100 min.

Annie Hall (1977)

Directed by Woody Allen. Cast: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Tony Roberts, Carol Kane, Paul Simon, Janet Margolin, Shelley Duvall, Christopher Walken, Colleen Dewhurst. A romantic and sensitive comedy revolving around the diverse and diverting relationships of two nervous New Yorkers, Alvy Singer and Annie Hall. In a pivotal scene, Alvie must meet Annie's Protestant family at Easter sharing a traditional ham dinner, a meal which he should be avoiding as a traditional Jew.

Arranged (2007)

Directed by Diane Crespo and Stefan C. Schaefer. Cast: Zoe Lister-Jones, Francis Benhamou, Doris Belack, Mimi Lieber, Daniel London, Laith Nakli, Alysia Reiner, John Rothman, Alison Becker, David Castro, Sanuit De Silva, Peggy Gormley, Jason Liebman, Arian Moayed, Jake Robards, Gina Shmukler, Marcia Jean Kurtz. Centers on the friendship between an Orthodox Jewish woman and a Muslim woman who meet as first-year teachers at a public school in Brooklyn.

Avalon (1990)

Directed by Barry Levinson. Cast: Leo Fuchs, Eve Gordon, Lou Jacobi, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Elizabeth Perkins, Joan Plowright, Kevin Pollak, Aidan Quinn, Elijah Wood. The story of several generations of a Jewish family, from the arrival of immigrant Sam Krichinsky in the suburb of Baltimore called Avalon down through his children and grandchildren. The family goes from poverty to prosperity and the world changes around them, but their love and humor hold the family together. 126 min.

Awake and Sing (TV, 1972)

Director, Falk Harnack. Cast: Felicia Farr, Leo Fuchs, Robert Lipton, Walter Matthau, Ron Rifkin, Martin Ritt, Milton Selzer, Ruth Storey, John Myhers. This made for television adaptation of the story by Clifford Odets about a Jewish family in a Bronx tenement, perfectly captures the spirit of the Depression years in New York City. Based on the play by Clifford Odets (SEE Awake & Singing: Six Great American Jewish Plays, MAIN: PS628.A47 A93 2004). 100 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006)

Directed by Larry Charles ; screenplay by Sacha Baron Cohen; produced by Sacha Baron Cohen, Jay Roach. Cast: Sacha Baron Cohen, Ken Davitian, Luenell, Pamela Anderson. Fictional Kazakhstani TV personality Borat is dispatched to the United States to report on the "greatest country in the world." With a documentary crew in tow, Borat becomes more interested in locating and marrying Pamela Anderson than in pursuing his assignment. In this mockumentary film his ignorance, prejudice, and boorish behavior produce humorous results.

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