Films of Jewish Interest: The Arts
Movie Recommendations

Cantors: A Faith in Song. 2003. DVD 781.76 C
Jewish religious and secular music performed by three of the world's most revered Cantors.
Chorus Shalom. 2000. VHS 781.629171 CHO
Russian singers and musicians perform a selection of songs in English, Yiddish, and Russian. Videorecording of the program presented at the Skokie Public Library in December, 2000.
Fires in the Mirror. 1993. DVD 791.4572 FIR TV
On August 19, 1991, in Crown Heights (Brooklyn, New York) a Hasidic man accidentally ran over a 7-year-old Black boy (Gavin Cato). Three hours later a young Jewish scholar (Yankel Rosenbaum) was murdered by Black youths. Four days of fire-bombing and riots ensued. Utilizing verbatim excerpts from interviews she conducted, Anna Deavere Smith acts out the roles of 18 people involved in the racial conflict, trying to present the differing viewpoints. Includes actual film footage of the riots and violence.
The Flowering of Harmony. 1979. VHS 780.903 F
The influences in the development of music from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. Medieval plainsong of the Christian Church contributed a reliable system of notation and led to the development of harmony. In addition, Jewish, Islamic and Indic music added elements to our musical heritage.
Frida Kahlo. 1983. VHS B K1225fr
Examination of the life and work of the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, told principally through many of the approximately seventy self portraits in which the artist charted not only physical changes, but also the events in her life, including love, loss, politics and the consuming relationship with her husband, Diego Rivera.
From Shtetl to Swing: A Musical Odyssey. 2005. DVD 781.6309 F
Explores the Jewish influence on American popular music in the 20th century, and its early and continuing conversation with jazz and African-American culture. Includes footage of early films and musical performances that demonstrate how Jewish Americans grew up to capitalize on a vast heritage of Yiddish music and culture, and tells the story of the cross-pollination of Jewish and African-American musical influences.
The Golden Age of Second Avenue. 1968. VHS 792.09 G
Documentary on the Yiddish theatre in America, which features excerpts from Yiddish films and interviews with those who have participated in Yiddish theatre.
Hollywood: An Empire of Their Own. 1997. DVD 979.494 H and VHS 791.43023 H
Through the use of archival footage (chiefly black and white, both documentary and dramatic), the history of motion picture production in Hollywood is traced and documented, and how the Eastern European Jewish immigrants (all men) 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 left their lasting influence on American motion picture production.
Homage to Chagall. 1977. DVD 759.7 C433ho
Portrait of Russian painter Marc Chagall, with photographs of over 300 of his paintings, murals and stained-glass windows. Also includes interviews with the artist and his wife.
Isaac Bashevis Singer. 1996. VHS 839.0933 S617is
In 1978 Isaac Bashevis Singer, Yiddish language writer and American national, received the Nobel Prize for literature. His works have been translated into 24 languages and several of his best known books have been adapted as films, including Yentl and Enemies. The program presents Singer's life story, examines the social and political events which influenced his work, and includes commentary, archival documents and rare interviews. Part of the Great Writers Series.
The Journey of Butterfly. 1996 VHS 741.9437 J
Weaves together the music, art, poetry, and history of the children imprisoned in the ghetto at Terezin. Features the American Boychoir performing in concert "I Never Saw Another Butterfly" with the Prague Symphony Orchestra.
 
The Last Klezmer: Leopold Kozlowski: His Life and Music. 2008. DVD 781.62924 L
Yale Strom traveled to Eastern Europe to search for remnants of klezmer music (Jewish folk melodies) that survived the Holocaust such as recordings, sheet music and klezmer musicians. In this program he interviews and travels with Leopold Kozlowski, the last active klezmer musician trained in the original pre-war tradition.
Marc Chagall. 1985. VHS 759.7 C433ma
This film portrait, made shortly before the death of Chagall in 1985, takes the viewer on a journey through time and place on the trail of this enigmatic artist. Eventually to become the grand old man of French painting, Chagall began life in a Jewish ghetto in Russia. He escaped the restrictions of his background and moved to Paris, where he rubbed shoulders with artists such as Matisse, Leger, and Dufy. There he began to create the floating surrealistic style which has remained his hallmark. Part of the Portrait of an Artist series.
A Tickle in the Heart. 1996. DVD 781.62924 T
The Epstein Brothers form one of the oldest klezmer bands still playing, and their active retirement is the focus of this documentary. In some sense, the history of their musical association is the history of klezmer. They perform in their retirement community in Florida, but they are frequently invited to perform in New York City and Germany. Of course, the film's best highlight is its music.
Yoo-hoo, Mrs. Goldberg. 2009. DVD 791.45028 B4933yo
Documentary film on the life of Jewish-American Gertrude Berg, the entertainment genius who wrote, starred in, and produced the first successful domestic sitcom, from her childhood in New York through her radio days to her Emmy Award for best actress.