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There are literally hundreds of versions of the story of the Golem of Prague, and "Snow in August" is not the only one set in modern times. It is unique, however, in the sheer number of twists it adds to the tale, not only in plot, but in examining the moral underpinnings of the story itself. In post-WWII Brooklyn, the war is already over, but ethnic tensions and just plain human nastiness remain undefeated. We never outgrow our need for miracles. Stephen Rea's performance as an endearing young immigrant rabbi suffering from "survivor guilt" is convincing without ever becoming maudlin, and Peter Tambakis' portrayal of a boy on the verge of confronting his own doubts is nuanced and genuine. I'm happy to see that he is continuing his acting career ("Live Free or Die," 2006) at least for the moment. Pete Hammill's book was a refreshing and universalizing treatment of this old Jewish folktale, and Richard Friendenberg's direction has brought it to life most successfully on the screen.
The adaptation for Showtime of Pete Hamill's novel is really one of the best adaptations of a novel to film i've seen. Unfortunately, the film has the same flawed ending the book did WHICH I WILL NOT GIVE AWAY. If you have read the book you will most definitely enjoy this re-telling of the story. Friedenberg's direction makes the plot much tighter and better paced. The highlight is definitely the performances of Peter Tambakis and Stephen Rea which are crucial to making the film work. Tambakis is especially impressive in his first real leading role. Stephen Rea is nearly unrecognizable in another great performance. This film is well worth viewing especially if you read the book.
I felt that this was an empowering film. And an interesting one from
the standpoint of the history of the Jews in the Hebrew Bible. (My
husband is in seminary, maybe that's why it hooked me. Interesting,
The alliance of the Irish, fatherless boy and the Rabbi is something that we should look to in a world where alliances are becoming more important. In a world where diversity should be celebrated and seen as an opportunity to learn and grow, while still maintaining identity, this would serve as a good movie for students and young people to see. To realize that there are wonderful things to learn, adopt, practice from all great faiths and cultures. Rather than condemning them for these histories or practices.
Pete Hamil's classic fantasy novel has been turned into a classic fantasy movie. Michael Delvin, an Irish-American lad from a blue collar Catholic neighborhood in New York befriends a Jewish rabbi from Prague. The two build a wonderful friendship where they both alternate between the roles of teacher and student. The two find their world threatened by Frankie McCarthy and his street gang known as the Falcons. It is Michael's belief that makes the magical ritual work that summons the Golem from his sleep of 400 years. The Golem, according to an old Jewish legend, was created out of mud by Rabbie Loew, a man of great wisdom and faith. Rabbi Hirsch, a very wise man, isn't able to use the magic because the death of his wife at the hands of the Nazis has destroyed his faith. The Golem blows an ancient ram horn to start his battle with the street punks. I loved this movie. I especially loved see the Irish and Jewish uniting to defeat a common enemy on the streets of Brookyn. The year is 1947, and the Dodgers have just brought up Jackie Robinson to break the color line in major league baseball who serves as an analogy to the good fight of Michael and the Rabbi.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
What ever happened to the store keep??? They show the Rabbi's wife alive
well, but the store keeper who was beat up is nowhere in the synagogue
crowd! The golem even went to the hospital to heal the Rabbi, but he
to go to the store keepers room for some additional healing?
Also, who were they targeting with this movie? Too violent for young children, too much fantasy for adults.
Also, parts of the portrayal of relious Judiasm were very accurate (saying that light would be nice, rather then asking directly to transgress the sabbath) while others were completely innaccurate such as eating cake on the same dishes that pork may have been on in the last meal (Rabbis visit after the hospital in the kid/mom's apartment.)
Ordinarily I would be interested in seeing a plot about some anti-Semite
getting his just desserts, but this film was so hackneyed it wasn't any fun.
There were too many unlikely elements in the plot, such as the store-owner
getting beat up and beaten into a coma and the boy who witnessed it getting
warned to keep his mouth shut and not be a stoolie. In spite of everything,
the boy develops a relationship with the lone neighborhood widowed rabbi,
who becomes a father-figure, the Irish boy, looking for a father (in the
most unlikely place) becoming a surrogate son.
The boy corrects the rabbi's English while the rabbi teaches him Yiddish. Before long the Irisher is spouting Yiddish and getting a bargain suit in a Jewish clothing store. He's also an altar boy and subject to the anti-Semitic caricatures of his Catholic classmates. They wanted him to check out the rabbi to see if he had any treasures. The 'treasures' turned out to be books, not gold and so we get the strong hint that Jews are The People of the Book.
It's all so hackneyed, I didn't stay to see the Golem (earth god) take revenge on the rotten gang who seem to feel free to beat up people with impunity. The plot is so unrealistic, you just can't give it any credence.
So the movie's rolling along just fine, very realistic. A kid gets beaten up by a gang and asks his friend, the rabbi, to help him out. The kid makes a mud-god come alive to help him, makes frankie pee in his pants. Its all peachy keen and the rabbi's wife is alive....wait a minute...hold the phone, a mud-god?! This movie was so stupid it made me want to urinate in my pants. Ahhhhhhhh.
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