A riveting portrait of the great writer whose stories became the basis of the Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof. Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness tells the tale of the ... See full summary »
A riveting portrait of the great writer whose stories became the basis of the Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof. Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness tells the tale of the rebellious genius who created an entirely new literature. Plumbing the depths of a Jewish world locked in crisis and on the cusp of profound change, he captured that world with brilliant humor. Sholem Aleichem was not just a witness to the creation of a new modern Jewish identity, but one of the very men who forged it. Written by
I first became acquainted - I don't know how - with the stories of Sholem Aleichem 50 years ago, when I was a teenager growing up in Milwaukee. After this movie got a great review in the Cleveland Plain Dealer - I wasn't able to drive up to see it - I tried to get it on DVD, which has taken almost two years. Worth the wait. A very well-done documentary about the life of this author of short stories and, evidently, novels.
The one thing I wish it had explored in greater detail was the nature of Yiddish literature before SA starts to write in that vernacular. Yes, Eastern European Jews all spoke Yiddish. But how many of them could read it? Of course, young Jewish boys learned to read enough Hebrew to go through their barmitzvah, but did that familiarity with the Hebrew alphabet plus a familiarity with spoken Yiddish enable them to read Yiddish? How much of a written language had Yiddish been before SA started to write in it?
That is not a fault with the movie, which I strongly recommend, just a question that struck me.
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