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Romeo and Juliet in Yiddish (2010)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama | 8 July 2011 (USA)
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Romeo and Juliet in Yiddish is a gritty, funny love story about charismatic and wayward Satmar Hasid youth who encounter Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet when they help a jaded NYC emergency room nurse with the play's translation.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lazer Weiss ... Lazer / Romeo
... Juliet / Faggie
Mendy Zafir ... Mendy / Benvolio
Bubbles Yoeli Weiss ... Mo / Mercutio
Josef Yossi Friedman ... Tybalt / Ty
... Ava / Nurse
Isaac Schoenfeld ... Isaac / Rabbi
Yelena Shmulenson ... Lady Capulet
Solman Wiser ... Capulet / Faigie's Father
... Paris
Aaron Keller ... Aaron / Peter
Aron Keller ... Aaron / Peter
David Germano ... Zalman
Noam Harary ... Mohammed
Reyna Schaechter ... Juliet's Sister / Rivke
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Storyline

Romeo and Juliet in Yiddish is a gritty, funny love story about charismatic and wayward Satmar Hasid youth who encounter Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet when they help a jaded NYC emergency room nurse with the play's translation.

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Comedy | Drama

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Not Rated
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8 July 2011 (USA)  »

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User Reviews

 
Romeo and Juliet in Yiddish
8 July 2011 | by See all my reviews

I wasn't quite sure how much of Eve Annenberg's new feature Romeo and Juliet in Yiddish I would find enjoyable given I do not know Yiddish. However, this film pleasantly surprised me with its universal themes and its unique portrayal of young Orthodox men as "thuggish," yet refreshingly humorous. The film centers on a woman in graduate school (Ava) who must translate Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet from English to Yiddish, and employs a few young Orthodox men to assist her in performing this seemingly impossible task. With Ava's descriptions of the play, the young men's imaginations, and a little fairy dust, Annenberg brings us to a parallel universe where the timeless characters of Shakespeare's play are replaced with Hasidic Jews. With witty dialogue, a bizarre, yet gratifying, plot, and an unlikely cast, Annenberg brings this feature to life despite her narrow budget.

Given that this film is in Yiddish, Annenberg was forced to cast actors with little to no experience. Despite this wide range of talent, Annenberg accomplishes making the acting ensemble deliver stellar performances, given her background in acting and directing. It's truly a feat that she was able to take 25 year olds who had never picked up a Shakespeare play, and transform them into believable and fluid actors who are naturally witty with their delivery. I'm sure what Annenberg has highlighted on screen with these actors is beyond their wildest expectations, and it makes you wonder what this woman could do if she was given an opportunity to work with real actors.

This film is handsomely crafted in terms of rich musical choices from A Cappella liturgical Jewish wailing in a minor key to tracks that are reminiscent of Pop Ballads (similar sounds to the All-American Rejects). The score is also fantastic, composed by Joel Diamond, and the contributions by Pharoah's daughter and Lior (top of the charts of Avant Garde Jewish music based in Acient melodies) bring this low budget film to a thing of beauty.

With the acting, the score, and the unique story, complex issues of difference are cleverly reduced to emotionally honest dialogue and visuals. With this, Annenberg guides the viewer through the transformation of Orthodox Jews from dorky to desirable.

This Wizard of Oz meets The Princess Bride feature is a must see no matter your background!


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