"Jewish Luck" ("Evreiskoe schast'e," Soviet Union, 1925)

 

On Tuesday February 7th at 4:40 PM Sharon Rivo will be showing a wonderful

silent Soviet Yiddish Film starring Solomon Mikhoels as part of her course

"Jews on Screen."Yaakov Gubanov, professor of composition at

Berkelee School of Music, will provide piano accompaniment for the

silent film with a score he has written.The screening will feature

our restored 35mm print of this important classic film.

 

All members of the Brandeis Community and Friends of the National Center

for Jewish Film are welcome to join us in the Wasserman Cinematheque

in the Sachar International Building.There is free parking behind the Springold Theater.

 

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Jewish Luck (Yevreiskoye Schastye / Menakhem Mendl)

USSR 1925 100 minutes B&W Silent with English intertitles

Director: Alexander Granovsky

Assistant Director: Grigori Gricher-Cherikover

Based on the Menakhem Mendl stories by Sholem Aleichem

Cinematography: Eduard Tissť, Vasili Khvatov

Original Russian intertitles: Isaac Babel

Cast: Solomon Mikhoels, Tamara Edelheim, T. Khazak, M. Goldblat, Y.

Shidlo, I. Rogaler, S. Epstein, R. Imenitove

 

Jewish Luck was among the first Soviet Yiddish films to be released

in the US during the 1920s. Based on Sholem Aleichem's series of

stories featuring the character Menakhem Mendl, Jewish Luck revolves

around the daydreaming entrepreneur Menakhem Mendl who specializes in

doomed strike-it-rich schemes. Despite Jewish oppression by Tsarist

Russia, Menakhem Mendl continues to pursue his dreams and his

continued persistence transforms him from schlemiel to hero as the

film uncovers the tragic underpinnings of Sholem Aleichem's comic

tales. Notes Village Voice critic Georgia Brown, "The movie's best

intertitle, translated from Isaac Babel's Russian: `What can you do

when there is nothing to do?'"

 

A dramatized version of the Menkhem Mendl stories was first staged by

the Moscow Yiddish State Theater, under the direction of Alexander

Granovsky, who later made this silent film. Jewish Luck features some

of the finest artistic talents of Soviet Jewry during this period. It

has been speculated that the cinematography done by Eduard Tissť in

Jewish Luck inspired the filming of particular scenes in one of his

later projects, Sergei Eisenstein's The Battleship Potemkin. The

original Russian intertitles were written by Soviet Jewish writer

Isaac Babel, who later became a victim of the Stalinist purges in the

late 1930s.

 

Sharon Pucker Rivo

email: jewishfilm@brandeis.edu