Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness (2011)
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. --(c) International Film Circuit … More
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Critic Reviews for Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness
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.
Audience Reviews for Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness
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