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Dramatization of "Yentl, the Yeshiva Boy," by Isaac Bashevis Singer (1902-1991); originally published in Yiddish c. 1960, then in English c. 1983. The story: In an Ashkenazic shtetl in Poland, Yentl Mendel is the boyishly klutzy daughter and only child of long widowed Rebbe ("Talmud Teacher") Mendel, who teaches Talmud (a codification of Jewish Law) to local boys - and to Yentl, but secretly because girls were not allowed to learn the law in those days. When her father dies, Yentl is all alone in the world. She takes the momentous decision to leave the village and - disguised as a boy and calling herself by the name of her late brother, Anshel - seeks and gets admitted to a Yeshiva, to study the texts, traditions, subtleties and complexities of Torah, Talmud, etc. She befriends Avigdor who is engaged to Haddas, but her family discovers his brother committed suicide so they call off the wedding (in case Avigdor possesses the same madness). Anshel then finds "him"-self in the awkward ... Written by
Reading the few awfully and derogatorily negative reviews for this film here on the IMDb, it still befuddles me about the total oppression and negativity that people throw out of their mouths without expressing themselves in a more precise and intelligent manner, mainly on a film that presents such important issues and social commentaries. Even though the film is set in the past, all it says is still very noteworthy and easy to relate to in the past few decades and definitely in the decades to come.
YENTL is a film to be shared and enjoyed regardless of ethnicity, religion or background. Its universality speaks and raises voices to different generations and social groups.
Motivational, moving and exquisitely shot with rich period flavor and mood (AND THIS IS WITHOUT HAVING SEEN THE DVD YET, SINCE IT IS NOT AVAILABLE, AND MS. STREISAND HERSELF NOTED THAT THE COLOR TINT ON THE VHS TAPE IS INCORRECT, SOMETHING SHE HAD CORRECTED FOR THE UPCOMING DVD), this is the type of story about conquering your fears and stop at nothing to achieve your dreams that is fatally missing from films in our present time.
If there is an aspect to this movie that is the most formidable, it's the music and songs in it that's what is most successful about it, since they carry the story as it progresses through its tale of passion, love, struggle and perseverance.
Ignorance has kept the film from being enjoyed and appreciated by several groups and individuals. Hopefully someday they will find the courage and wit to understand such incredible gem.
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