Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness (2011)
Average Rating: 7.7/10
Reviews Counted: 39
Fresh: 39 | Rotten: 0
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Average Rating: 7.9/10
Critic Reviews: 16
Fresh: 16 | Rotten: 0
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Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 647
A riveting portrait of the great writer whose stories became the basis of the Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof. Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness tells the tale of the rebellious genius who created an entirely new literature. Plumbing the depths of a Jewish world locked in crisis and on the cusp of profound change, he captured that world with brilliant humor. Sholem Aleichem was not just a witness to the creation of a new modern Jewish identity, but one of the very men who forged it.
Jul 8, 2011 Limited
Mar 11, 2013
International Film Circuit - Official Site
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Not often does a film double as a literary critic, but this is the Northrop Frye of docs. Essentially, it revises and sharpens the blunted reputation of a great writer.
Audiences interested in Jewish literature will find Laughing in the Darkness compelling for its deep analysis of Aleichem's works, featuring a selection of experts and the writer's granddaughter, Bel Kaufman.
Throughout the film, Dorman uses ethnographic and silent-cinema footage, along with ubiquitous klezmer music, to paint a picture of the era.
The film adroitly sets the writer's works, his triumphs and tribulations, against the backdrop of a tumultuous period for European Jewry.
In the end, you're certainly inspired to read Aleichem, but not necessarily to watch Dorman's film again.
.... a thoughtful, if also conventional, overview of Aleichem's life and work, mixing straight history and biography with quotations from his writings...
It's a history lesson that also shows art informing the events, even changing them.
One needn't be a student of the history or literature of the period to appreciate this excellent portrait of a fascinating and important figure.
Dorman's portrait is engrossing, but his Ken Burns style doesn't match his subject's vitality.
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