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Jews & the Arts

A Jumpin' Night in the Garden of Eden.

Shows these two klezmer bands both in performance and in the process of re-discovering this traditional music through its Yiddish, Eastern European, and early 20th Century American roots. 75 min.View this video online (via folkstreams.net)

A Tickle in the Heart

Follows three traveling musicians, the Epstein brothers, Klezmer music legends now on a joyous international come-back tour revisiting the places of their past, including Florida, Poland, and Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Shows the three brothers -- Max, Julie and Willie Epstein -- discussing their past and handling the nuts and bolts of their business: booking dates, haggling over fees, and performing at retirement homes and synagogue functions. 2003. 84 min.

Almonds and Raisins: A History of the Yiddish Cinema.

A documentary on the Yiddish cinema in America, primarily in New York City from 1927 to the 1940's. Features extensive excerpts from Yiddish films (most subtitled in English) including The cantor's son, Overture to glory with Moishe Oysher, Yidl mitn Fidl with Molly Picon and Tevye with Maurice Schwartz. Has contemporary footage of New York City and Eastern European village life. Includes interviews with those who have participated in the Yiddish cinema. 90 min.

Ashkenaz: Eastern Europe

A compilation of Jewish music from Eastern Europe including Yiddish folksongs, the liturgical music of the synagogue, Klezmer melodies, as well as Yiddish theater tunes--all of which are the essential components of Ashkenazic music. The film also features rare archival footage of Jewish life in Eastern Europe as it existed prior to World War II, providing an understanding of the environment from which the music grew. 1993. 28 min.

Chants de Sable et d'Etoiles: Chants of Sand and Stars

So you think you know Jewish music? This film literally goes to the four corners of the Earth to collect performances of sounds that make up traditional Jewish music. From Belgium to Canada, from France to Israel, to the Netherlands and further...this exhaustive celebration of Yiddish songs, Klezmer music, synagogue celebrations and Jewish chant examines the role music plays in uniting and sustaining Jewish culture and faith throughout the world. Director, Nicolas Klotz. 90 min.

Creating Jewish Characters for TV.

One in a series of satellite seminars which investigate how prime-time television is conceptualized and created. This film explores the creation and characterization of Jewish characters presented in television sit-coms and dramas through comments by the creators of "Thirtysomething," "Chicago hope," "Relativity," "Northern exposure," and "Seinfeld." This seminar is presented at the Museum of Television and Radio, Los Angeles, California. 1998. 61 min.

Jackie Mason: The Ultimate Jew Live on Broadway

The irascible, irreplaceable, and incomparable true living legend of comedy gives his eighth and final one-man comedy Broadway show. Contents: Intro -- Success -- Homosexuals -- Politicians -- Hillary Clinton -- Qualifications ; Tough Jews ; The rich ; Diets ; Casinos ; Marriage ; Vacation ; Discrimination ; Viagra ; Culture.c2008. 93 min.

Jews, Movies, Hollywoodism and the American Dream

Using archival footage this film examines the lasting influence on the American motion picture industry of the Eastern European Jewish immigrants who founded and ran the major motion picture companies and studios that gave Hollywood its worldwide fame and produced many of the all-time motion picture classics of this century. Profiles in particular the work of Adolph Zukor, Carl Laemmle, Louis B. Mayer, the Warner brothers, Harry Cohn, and Irving Thalberg. 1998. 100 min.
See also:

Mamadrama: the Jewish Mother in Cinema</a>

A unique exploration of the maligned mother figure in Jewish twentieth century culture. In movies, television and books, she has been either revered or caricatured, often being the butte of humor and variously identified as emasculating, overbearing, oversexed, undersexed, long-suffering or overly materialist. Film excerpts: Mirele Efros (1939) -- Mothers of today (1939) -- Come blow your horn (1963) -- Where's Poppa? (1970) -- Portnoy's complaint (1972) -- My favorite year (1982) -- Jazz singer (1927) -- Noa at 17 (1981) -- Summer of Aviya (1988).

Night on the Sea of Galiliee: Israel Folk Dance Festival.

A collection of the best folkloric dance groups performing in Israel today, consisting of one hour of action, colors and music reflecting the traditions and history of the Israeli people. 1985. 60 min.