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Film Class: The Jazz Singer

  • Jewish Community Library 1835 Ellis Street San Francisco, CA 94115 (map)

Free program with free garage parking on Pierce Street between Ellis and Eddy streets.

We will look at a variety of clips and shorts that demonstrate some of the ways immigrant Jews were represented in films of the silent era, ranging from admiring portraits to prejudiced caricatures.

In the film that marked the transition from silent films to talkies (although it is largely silent), Al Jolson stars as Jakie Rabinowitz, a gifted singer whose desire to perform popular music conflicts with his father’s expectation that he become a cantor. Following Rabinowitz as he anglicizes his name, adopts blackface for his performances, and struggles with his family and tradition, this film would be the most explicit cinematic representation of a Jewish identity crisis for decades. 1927, 89 minutes, in English.

Taught by Library Director Howard Freedman. Films will be shown in video projection.

Earlier Event: June 15
Film: The Broken Sound
Later Event: July 20
Film Class: Counsellor at Law