|April 17th 2012||Film/Video|
|Location||Flavin Auditorium, Isenberg 137|
|Title||Special Screening of "The Cantor's Son"|
Have you heard of the first talkie The Jazz Singer? Did you know it had a Yiddish cousin? Come see how The Jazz Singer was remade for a Yiddish-speaking audience!
Special screening of "The Cantor's Son" ?- in Yiddish with English subtitles. Introduced by Dr. Rachel Rubinstein, Associate Professor of American Literature and Jewish Studies at Hampshire College.
This Yiddish feature film musical drama, "The Cantor's Son," first released in 1937, marks the screen debut of singer and cantor Moishe Oysher. The film features Oysher in the title role of a wayward Jewish boy who makes his way from his Polish shtetl to New York's Lower East Side. While washing floors in a nightclub several years later he is "discovered" and becomes a well-known singer. Torn between Old World tradition and New World expression, he returns home to Eastern Europe to join his parents and childhood sweetheart, amidst new choices and
In his book on Yiddish cinema Bridge of Light, critic J. Hoberman calls "The Cantor's Son" an "anti-Jazz Singer," further remarking that the film's story parallels Oysher's own struggle to reconcile his cantorial calling with a career in show business. Like his film character, Oysher, born in Bessarabia and the son and grandson of cantors, was both a matinee idol and a celebrated cantor. The most expensive Yiddish production of the era, "The Cantor's Son" was shot near the Poconos and presents rare glimpses of the 1930s Lower East Side and of 2nd Avenue Yiddish theater marquees of the 1930s.
Rachel Rubinstein received her B.A. in English from Yale University and her Ph.D. from the Department of English and American Literature and Language at Harvard University. She is currently the dean of academic support and advising at Hampshire College. Professor Rubinstein's teaching and research interests range across American literature and culture, with a particular focus on ethnicity and immigration, as well as Jewish and Yiddish literatures. She serves on the editorial board of Prooftexts: A Journal of Jewish Literary History and co-edited "Arguing the Modern Jewish Canon: Essays on Literature and Culture in Honor of Ruth R. Wisse" (Harvard U Press, 2008). Her work has appeared in American Quarterly and Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies, and she is the author of "Members of the Tribe: Native America in the Jewish Imagination" (Wayne State University Press, 2010).
Sponsored by the National Yiddish Book Center with support from the Jack and Ruthe B. Cowl Center for Jewish Culture and the Righteous Persons Foundation and by the Department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, this event is free, open to the public and wheelchair accessible. For more information, visit http://www.umass.edu/judaic/events.html or call 413-545-2550.
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