Wild At Heart
Sholem Aleichem was the pen name of Solomon Naumovich Rabinovich, a leading Yiddish author and playwright. The musical Fiddler on the Roof, based on his stories about Tevye the Milkman, was the first commercially successful English-language stage production about Jewish life in Eastern Europe. It is also a greeting in Hebrew, literally meaning "Peace be upon you" from which he got his pen name which makes it an interested choice for a name.
I’m not sure if I feel this is a great documentary to see on the big screen, but with the large Jewish population in the area as evidenced by the wonderful patronage of the JCC, I think Detroit is a great place to see a documentary about perhaps the one person who truly helped forge the identity of the modern Jew in our society. The documentary does a good job talking about the writer and why he was so influential. At the time he came about, the Yiddish language was on the verge of being underused and disappearing. He decided to write to his people in their language as a way of promoting the history and tradition (much like the song in “Fiddler On The Roof”) but also leading the way for the expansion of the Jewish culture to leap forward to the new America as their life was suffering in Europe.
This is a great history lesson looking at what was going on in Europe at this time and how it compared to America (where he as a writer was almost out of touch by that point despite his celebrity). This movie did a good job on whetting my appetite to learn more about this aspect of our collective history. I almost wish this was a longer work since the man seemed so fascinating and I would have liked more stories from his granddaughter who is in the film.
I saw “Fiddler” when it plays here in Detroit a couple of years ago and was blown away by the performance and it is nice to have a look at the man and the times which helped create such a masterwork. Watching the documentary for me really gets to the point where we acknowledge knowing our history whatever our background and trying to understand it. If you are a fan of “Fiddler On The Roof”, world literature or history, I definitely feel this would be an enjoyable hour ½ well spent. The movie starts Friday, October 14 at the Main Art Theatre and Eric Lumberg, Chairman of the Lenore Marwil Jewish Film Festival will be at the 7PM show on Sunday, October 16 to talk to patrons.
PS – the stories of Tevye are also told in real time which is a rarity in literature. This means if he wrote a story when Tevye was 40 years old and he wrote a book 5 years later, the character would be 5 years older.
My grade is a B-
Wild At Heart movie review: Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness
Wild Bill Ketelhut provides the "blog" to this anti-blog