Miami Jewish Film Festival: Yiddish Silent Movie
RUSSIA | 100 MINUTES | 1925
Jewish Luck was among the first Soviet Yiddish films to be released in the United States during the 1920s. Based on Sholem Aleichem's series of stories featuring the character Menakhem Mendl (played by the famous actor Solomon Mikhoels), the film revolves around the daydreaming entrepreneur Mendl who specializes in doomed strike-it-rich schemes. Despite Jewish oppression by Tsarist Russia, Mendl continues to pursue his dreams with a persistence that transforms him from schlemiel to hero as the film uncovers the tragic underpinnings of Sholem Aleichem's comic tales. Jewish Luck features some of the finest artistic talents of Soviet Jewry during this period. It has been speculated that the cinematography done by Eduard Tissé inspired the filming of certain scenes in one of his later projects, Sergei Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin (particularly the famous "Odessa steps" scene of that film, the same setting as the Jewish Luck finale). The original Russian intertitles were written by Soviet Jewish writer Isaac Babel, who later became a victim of the Stalinist purges of the late 1930s. Film restoration with complete new English intertitles by The National Center for Jewish Film.
The restoration of this Jewish silent film will be presented live with an original music score performed by Rostislav Vaynshtok.
The Knight Foundation, The Betsy, National Center for Jewish Film