The Cleveland International Film Festival promotes artistically and culturally significant film arts through education and exhibition to enrich the life of the community.
Country: Great Britain/USA
Run Time: 90 minutes
Narrated by Orson Welles, ALMONDS AND RAISINS is a history of the Yiddish cinema, compiled by British documentary filmmaker Russ Karel. Through the use of feature film clips, still-photos, posters and interviews, the film recalls the early sound period when over 300 Jewish talkies were produced in the Yiddish language. Following the success of Hollywood's "The Jazz Singer" in 1927, Yiddish cinema was alive and well in several countries, reaching its peak just before World War II. many of these films have been restored at the National Center for Jewish Film at Brandeis University. Interviews with actos Herschel Bernardi, Zvee Scooler and David Opatashu, among others, are featured along with a talk with filmmaker Joseph Green, whose "Yidl Mit'l Fidl," made in 1936 and "A Brivele Der Mamen," made in 1939, were produced in Poland and are among the most beloved of Yiddish films. Other leading films of special merit include cult director Edgar Ulmer's long-lost "Fiske Der Krumer" (now titled "The Light Ahead") which was completely restored by the Brandeis Center. This 1938 film was produced for the Jewish audiences of N.Y.'s Lower East Side and was a revised version of "The Jazz Singer," A warning against the dangers of assimilation. Famed actor-director Maurice Schwartz's 1939 American film "Tevye" and even a Yiddish western add to the fascinating chronicle of this almost forgotten cinema.
". . .ALMONDS AND RAISINS is a real treat. . .a must-see." -Ronn Holloway, Variety
David Elstein, Russ Karel
Orson Welles, Herschel Bernardi, Joseph Green, Zvee Scooler
Berlin, Chicago, Rivertown Film Festivals