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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
An excellent film, it has a wonderful complexity in the characters' personalities and relationships that maintain a level of enjoyable tension and curiosity throughout the film for the viewer. Excellent performances given by Mandy Patinkin, Amy Irving and Barbra Streisand. Great songs throughout. Not a brainless ha-ha movie. It is a thinking person's film, in the same vein (in my opinion) as Fiddler On The Roof. Well directed by Streisand. And I'm a Republican! I have been waiting it seems for ages to buy the DVD (pirated copies sold on eBay a few years ago for $45+), but it seems legitimate copies are now available with special features to enjoy.
5 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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