Fiddler on the Filmhouse

14th March 2008 at 00:00

The little-known history of Yiddish cinema will be the subject of a short season of films at Edinburgh's Filmhouse, starting later this month.

The Dybbuk is arguably the most artistically important of all Yiddish films, using expressionist sets to create an effect as powerful and haunting as the great films of the German Expressionist period. Yiddle With His Fiddle is about wandering Klezmer musicians and became the most commercially successful Yiddish musical comedy of all time. Tevye is an adaptation of Sholom Aleichem's stories about a dairyman and his daughters in a Russian village. And Long is the Road was the first film to represent the Holocaust from a Jewish perspective.

Heather Valencia, a teacher of Yiddish in Edinburgh and Glasgow, said: "Although Yiddish cinema flourished for a few years - most of the films were produced between 1935 and 1940 - it represents an important facet of the rich culture of Yiddish-speaking Jews."

Until the Holocaust, Yiddish was the language of the Jews of Poland, Russia and parts of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, and gave rise to an impressive body of literature, theatre and film.

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