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Representations of Jews and Jewish Life in Film

Romance of a Jewess (1908)

Directed by D. W. Griffith. Cast: Florence Lawrence, John R. Cumpson, Gladys Egan, George Gebhardt, Guy Hedlund, Charles Inslee, Alfred Paget, Mack Sennett. In this early silent melodrama, Ruth tries to survive amidst tragedy and toil on New York's Lower East Side. her husband dies in an accident and she and her child are left destitute. When she falls ill, her little daughter wanders into a pawn shop owned by her estranged grandfather, whom she's never met. He has a change of heart and runs to help his daughter, but he is too late and decides to raise his granddaughter himself. 15 min.

Shem (Israel / UK, 2004)

Directed by Caroline Roboh. Cast: Ash Newman, Geraldine de Bastion, Hadassah Hungar Diamant, Istvan Szabo, Ferrante Ferranti, Cyrielle Claire, Arturo Brachetti. Daniel, a young and arrogant Londoner, is bored to death with his life. His jewish grandmother asks him to go through Europe in order to find his grandfather's grave. Not only will Daniel find his long lost grandfather's trace, but he will also come to understand his deep-rooted jewish culture. 93 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Sofie (Sophie) (Denmark / Norway / Sweden, 1987)

Directed by Liv Ullmann. Cast: Karen-Lise Mynster, Erland Josephson, Ghita Norby, Jesper Christensen, Torben Zeller, Stig Hoffmeyer. Sofie is the only daughter of a late 19th century Jewish family in Denmark who finds herself bound to traditions that clash with the temptations of her heart. The film celebrates Sofie's life as she strives for happiness in an arranged marriage, grows to understand her family and finds the strength to accept her only child's decision to pursue a more modern way of life. 145 min.

Sol de Otono (Autumn Sun) (Argentina, 1996)

Directed by Eduardo Mignogna. A love story set in Buenos Aires in which a Jewish woman and her gentile boyfriend conspire to pass him off as a Jew in order to avoid conflict with her relatives. Spanish without titles. PAL. 103 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

South Park. The Passion of the Jew (TV, 2004)

Based on the characters created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Passion of the Jew: After finally seeing "The Passion of the Christ", Kyle has to admit that Cartman has been right all along about the Jews' role in history. Inspired by Kyle's change of heart and a powerful love for Mel Gibson, Cartman incites many of the film's hardcore fans to band together and carry out its message. Meanwhile, Stan and Kenny also see the movie and embark upon a quest to find Mel Gibson and get their money back.

Street Scene (1931)

Directed by King Vidor. Cast: Sylvia Sidney, William Collier Jr., Estelle Taylor, Beulah Bondi, Max Montor, David Landau. Lives of New York City residents are explored when a young girl's life is torn apart as her father returns home unexpectedly to find her mother with another man in this bold exploration of Jewish immigrant life in the early 20th century. Adapted from the play by Elmer Rice. 79 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Supertex: eine stunde im paradies (Super Tex) (Germany / Netherlands, 2003)

Directed by Jan Schutte. Cast: Stephen Mangan, Jan Decleir, Maureen Lipman, Elliot Levey, Tracy-Ann Oberman, Ana Geislerova, Meital Berdah, Otto Tausig. A film about Max, a "Jew in a Porsche," who needs to come to terms with his Jewish background, his love-life, his father's company where he works, but most of all his father himself, a stern man he hardly knows. PAL, Region 2 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

The Angel Levine (1970)

Directed by Jan Kadar. Cast: Zero Mostel, Harry Belafonte, Ida Kaminska, Milo O'Shea, Gloria Foster. A touching, humorous film about Morris Mishkin, an elderly Jew whose life experiences have left him an embittered agnostic. Into Mishkin's life floats Alexander Levine, a black Jewish angel, who must convince the old man that life has value else Levine will never earn his wings. 106 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (Canada, 1974)

Directed by Ted Kotcheff. Cast: Richard Dreyfuss, Micheline Lanctot, Randy Quaid, Joseph Wiseman, Denholm Elliott, Henry Ramer, Joe Silver and Jack Warden as "Max". Duddy Kravitz is an irresistible young Jewish man in 1948 Montreal driven by an insatiable desire to be a 'somebody.' He cheats, schemes and connives to buy a large parcel of land. He uses the girl who loves him, forges cheques and he lies and is enormously proud of his shortcuts. In his race for sucess, Duddy learns many hard lessons. Based on the novel by Mordecai Richler. 121 min.

The Believer (2001)

Director, Henry Bean. Cast: Ryan Gosling, Summer Phoenix, Glenn Fitzgerald, Theresa Russell, Billy Zane. Based on the true story of an American Nazi Party leader in the 1960s who was revealed to be Jewish. The film tells the story of Danny Balint and his struggle between destroying his own people and being drawn back to Judaism. 99 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database Awards Sundance Film Festival - Grand Jury PrizeReviews and articles: