It's 1896. Yankel Bogovnik, a Russian Jew, emigrated to the United States three years earlier and has settled where many of his background have, namely on Hester Street on the Lower East ...
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It's 1896. Yankel Bogovnik, a Russian Jew, emigrated to the United States three years earlier and has settled where many of his background have, namely on Hester Street on the Lower East Side of New York City. He has assimilated to American life, having learned English, anglicized his name to Jake, and shaved off his beard. He is working at a $12/week job as a seamster, the money earned to be able to bring his wife Gitl and his son Yossele to America from Russia. Regardless, he has fallen in love with another woman, a dancer named Mamie Fein. Nonetheless, he is excited when he learns that Gitl and Yossele are indeed coming to America. His happiness at their arrival is dampened when he sees that Gitl is not "American" looking like Mamie and has troubles assimilating as quickly as he would like. Except to Mamie, he tries to show a public façade that everything is fine at home with Gitl. But can their marriage survive these differences, and if not, will Gitl be able to manage in this new... Written by
Delightful film that evokes a unique era in Jewish and American history
I saw this movie when it premiered in 1975, and enjoyed it. Thanks to DVDs, we can watch and re-watch movies whenever we want. My wife has also become a fan of this film. The DVD's commentary by director Joan Micklin Silver and her producer husband, Raphael, is fascinating. If you are interested in the process of making movies, these commentaries are always a treasure trove of information and insight into the craft. Silver also directed Crossing Delancy, another classic, especially for anyone of the Jewish-American subculture, or familiar with it, though anyone who likes a love story will enjoy it as well.
To learn that the entire budget of Hester Street was $500,000 is astounding. This is a beautiful little movie that is driven by it's story and characters. Here is an unknown Carol Kane, who got the best actress nomination for this one, surrounded by great performances by veteran actors and first time non-actors alike. Doris Roberts does a fantastic job in a big role as the neighbor.
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