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The Celluloid Closet of Yiddish Film

  • Jewish Community Library 1835 Ellis Street San Francisco, CA, 94115 US (map)
Eve Sicular.jpg

Free event with free garage parking on Pierce St between Ellis and Eddy (click here for a map)

Despite the taboo surrounding homosexuality, this topic was too intriguing to be left entirely out of the Yiddish picture. An exploration of lesbian and gay subtext in Yiddish cinema during its heyday, from the 1920s to the outbreak of World War II, reveals distinctly Jewish concerns of the time intertwined with a striking array of allusions to this highly-charged subject. From musical comedies Yidl Mitn Fidl and Amerikaner Shadkhn to classic dramas Der Dibuk and Der Vilner Shtot-Khazn, queerness reached the screen in various guises, emerging as an alternate take on themes of conflicted identity, passing, and same-sex attachments.

Drummer, bandleader, and film scholar Eve Sicular formed and leads NYC-based bands
Isle of Klezbos all-women’s sextet and Metropolitan Klezmer octet. Her original musical
documentary theater piece, J. Edgar Klezmer: Songs from My Grandmother’s FBI Files,
premiered in 2009. Sicular collaborated on Bridge of Light: Yiddish Film Between Two
Worlds,
co-organized by MoMA and the National Center for Jewish Film, and is a former
curator of the Film and Photo Archives at YIVO Institute.

Co-presented by KlezCalifornia and the Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring of Northern California. Program made possible, in part, by Richard Krieg, in honor of David Medlin.