In collaboration with the National Center for Jewish Film on the Brandeis campus, the Brandeis National Committee has assembled a lending library of DVDs. The 'Deis Flicks collection includes both the work of modern independent filmmakers and archival materials. Together they represent a visual record of the Jewish people in all of their vibrancy and diversity. Please explore our exciting array of films below.
UK, 2012, 75 minutes
Written and Directed by Dan Edelstyn; A film by Dan Edelstyn and Hilary Powell
British filmmaker Daniel Edelstyn became mildly obsessed after discovering his grandmother’s journals in the attic of his family home. Maroussia Zorokovich, born into a wealthy Ukrainian Jewish family, was a budding writer and dancer before the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution rewrote her destiny and sent her into exile. When Edelstyn travels to the Ukraine in search of his roots and discovers that the vodka distillery opened by his great grandfather in 1904 is still in operation, he decides—despite his utter lack of business experience—to become a liquor entrepreneur and import the vodka to the UK. Watch the trailer here.
USA, 2013, 57 minutes
Directed by Marc Shaffer, Produced by Jackie Krentzman
American Jerusalem: Jews and the Making of San Francisco tells the remarkable story of the pioneering Jews of San Francisco. Drawn to California by the Gold Rush, Jews were welcomed in San Francisco. They went on to build a thriving community, at one time the second largest Jewish community in the United States after New York. Watch trailer here.
Yippee: A Journey to Jewish Joy
USA, 2006, 74 minutes, color
Directed by Paul Mazursky
Yippee chronicles Paul Mazursky’s whirlwind journey to Uman, a small Ukrainian town that is the site of a unique, annual gathering of Jewish men making pilgrimages to the burial place of Rabbi Nachman (1772-1810).
Grace Paley: Collected Shorts
USA, 2010, 74 minutes, color
Directed by Lilly Rivlin
Lilly Rivlin’s intimate documentary is a rich, inspiring portrait of writer, activist and New York icon Grace Paley (1922-2007). Paley’s acclaimed first short story collection, The Little Disturbances of Man, established her reputation with its brilliantly sad and funny chronicles of Jewish American urban females much like herself. Paley’s New York tales, filled with an emotional and sexual frankness especially bold at the tail end of the frightened 1950s, soon became classics of the short fiction form.
American Matchmaker (Amerikaner Shadkhn)
USA, 1940, 87 minutes, B&W
Yiddish with new English subtitles
Directed by Edgar G. Ulmer
Leo Fuchs, the "Yiddish Fred Astaire," stars in this musical comedy as Nat Silver, a debonair and fabulously wealthy Jewish-American businessman whose recent engagement (his eighth) goes awry. Edgar G. Ulmer's last Yiddish movie was also his most modern, an art-deco romantic comedy about male ambivalence and Jewish assimilation. Watch the trailer here.
Green Fields (Grine Felder)
USA, 1937, 95 minutes, B&W
Yiddish with new English subtitles
Directed by Edgar G. Ulmer and Jacob Ben-Ami
The most critically acclaimed and beloved of American Yiddish talkies, Edgar Ulmer's soulful, open-air adaptation of Peretz Hirshbein's classic play heralded the Golden Age of Yiddish cinema. "Green Fields" celebrates an idyllic world of tribal wholeness and innate piety—no other movie has ever represented the shtetl with such lyricism. Starring Helen Beverly and Michael Goldstein, "Green Fields" was voted the Best Foreign Film in France in 1938. Watch the trailer here.
Advice and Dissent
USA, 2002, 21 minutes, color
Directed By Leib Cohen
After five years in a loveless marriage, Jeffrey Goldman (John Pankow) and his wife, Ellen (Rebecca Pidgeon), have reached a crossroads. She would like to salvage their relationship by having a child, and he would like to end it with a clean divorce. When she refuses, Jeffrey must resort to other means. Watch the trailer here.
85 minutes - USA 2006
This funny film tells the story of six of the greatest female comic performers of the last century - Molly Picon, Fanny Brice, Sophie Tucker, Joan Rivers, Gilda Radner, and Wendy Wasserstein.
86 minutes, 2008, color/B&W
Spanish and Yiddish with English subtitles
At the end of the 19th century, Gertrudis, a shy, introspective "ugly duckling" in a colony of immigrant Argentinean Jews, grows into her role as a mother and wife of a charismatic Yidishe Gaucho—until she meets a nomadic photographer whose uncompromising vision allows her to see herself for the first time. Watch the trailer here.
France/Israel, 2007, 95 minutes, color
French & Hebrew with English subtitles
In the early 1970s, the Maimons, a rambunctious but tight-knit Tunisian-Israeli family, settle in Paris seeking adventure and fortune. Felix (Gad Elmaleh), Mireille (Yael Abecassis) and their two young sons rely on one another, especially when Felix's minor crimes escalate to bank robbery after he meets Serge (Richard Berry), a local Jewish gangster. Eleven-year-old Michael, who always thought of his father as a "superhero," discovers that maybe his definition of hero needs to change.
93 minutes, color, USA
A nostalgic Jewish romance about a rich turn-of-the-century Boston widower who returns from the old country with a husband for his thoroughly modern daughter, who is appalled by this pious old-world scholar. She seems appalled, but is she?
Leon the Pig Farmer
98 minutes, color, 1996 Germany
An irreverent comedy from the production company of Monty Python's Eric Idle, "Leon the Pig Farmer" is considered a cult classic in Europe. The movie's zany story is set in motion when Leon Geller (Mark Frankel), a sensitive Jewish boy from London, accidentally learns that he is the product of artificial insemination. Watch the trailer here.
Love at Second Sight
90 minutes, color, Israel 1998
Hebrew with English subtitles
Renowned Israeli filmmaker and actress Michal Bat-Adam produced, wrote and directed this intriguing tale of romantic obsession in present-day Tel Aviv. The beautiful Michal Zuaratz stars as Nina, a promising newspaper photographer with a special knack for giving life to her pictures, a gift she inherited from her grandfather, Olek.
56 minutes, color, Israel
Hebrew with English subtitles
Two young women, friends since childhood, share a spacious apartment in the heart of Tel Aviv. Their high rent forces them to take in a third flatmate, Malka, a mysterious ultra-Orthodox woman who becomes part of their lives. Her strange insistence on living with two secular women touches Yael's heart and arouses Shlomit's suspicions. Slowly, with various twists and turns, Malka's secret is discovered. The Orthodox woman's wretched fate moves both young women, and they become determined to help her.
89 minutes, color, 1998
German with English subtitles
In this fast-paced thriller, two Jewish brothers, children of Holocaust survivors, confront the ugly, growing wave of extreme right-wing violence in Germany. It's 1991, and a group of skinheads attacks a foreign-workers' hostel the same night a neo-Nazi leader is shot dead. Because he was in the hostel with his Vietnamese girlfriend that night, Michael Rosenzweig becomes the main suspect. But Michael can't recall what happened.
Finding Leah Tickotsky: A Discovery of Heritage in Poland
48 minutes, color, USA 2010
In the summer of 2007, as a Stanford University student, Sarah Golabek-Goldman traveled to Poland to teach English in the village of Zakliczyn. While there, she also visited the towns where her family lived before World War II to search for Poles who remembered her relatives. In the village of Jasionowka, Sarah discovered the gravestone of her great-great-grandmother, Leah Tickotsky.
Nicholas Winton: The Power of Good
Czech Republic/ Slovak Republic, 2002, 64 minutes, color
English and Czech with English subtitles
A gripping documentary about the courage and determination of a young English stockbroker who saved the lives of 669 children. Between March 13 and August 2, 1939, Sir Nicholas Winton organized eight transports (one airplane and seven trains) to take children from Prague to new homes in Great Britain, and kept silent about it until his wife discovered a scrapbook documenting his unique mission in 1988. Watch the trailor here.
From Philadelphia to the Front
37 minutes, color, USA 2005
One of the few documentaries to explore the stories of Jewish-American World War II soldiers, this film focuses on six Philadelphia veterans in their 80s, and their individual experiences during the war. For Jews, the war to defeat Hitler had deeply personal significance. The film premiered at the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia as part of "A Soldier's Story: Intimate Artifacts of World War II," an exhibition of still photographs and letters. Watch the trailer here.
The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg
As Hitler invaded Europe, a young Jewish baseball player challenged Babe Ruth's homerun record. This is the story of how he became an American hero.
60 minutes - USA
Profiling Hassidic punk rockers, Yiddish street performers, African-American Jewish activists and more, Punk Jews explores an emerging movement of provocateurs and committed Jews who are asking, each in his or her own way, what it means to be Jewish in the 21st century. Watch the trailer here
Jewish Soldiers in Blue and Grey
86 minutes - USA 2011
Brother against brother, Jew against Jew, 10,000 Jewish soldiers fought in the nation’s deadliest war, in numbers proportionally higher than other American groups. Includes questions for discussion from Jonathan Sarna, Joseph H. Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History. Watch the trailer here.
Mamadrama: The Jewish Mother in Cinema
73 minutes, color, Australia, 2000
Jewish mothers are the most easily maligned image of Jewish women found in movies and television. You know who they are: the caricature of the overbearing, emasculating, long-suffering mother ever ready with mountains of food. Australian director Monique Schwarz takes a funny, penetrating look at how the loving and affectionate portrayals in early Yiddish and Hollywood silent movies developed into the Jewish Mother of modern Hollywood and, conversely, the more flesh and blood characterizations in contemporary Israeli cinema.
Around the World
The Bene Israel: A Family Portrait
33 minutes, color, India 1994
Marathi with English subtitles
An intimate family portrait and a fascinating ethnographic study of the Bene Israel, one of three groups of Jews living in India today. The film documents one family's religious and cultural traditions representing this unique brand of Judaism. Through stories, songs, family prayer and community ritual, the film introduces the viewer to three generations of Indian Jews.
Dear Mr. Waldman
86 minutes, Hebrew and English subtitles
In Tel Aviv in the 1960s 10-year-old Hilik knows his goal in life–to make his parents happy and compensate for the grief they both suffered in the Holocaust. The fragile equilibrium of Rivka and Moishe’s new, post-war life begins to waver when Moishe convinces himself that Yankele, his son from his first marriage, didn't actually die in Auschwitz, but rather survived to become the “Jack Waldman” he sees pictured in a newspaper.
Last Jews of Libya
50 minutes, color, USA 2007
English, Hebrew, Italian, and Arabic with English subtitles
Some 36,000 Jews lived in Libya at the end of World War II; today, none remain. "Last Jews of Libya" documents the final decades of a centuries-old North African Sephardic Jewish community through the lives of a remarkable family.
Minyan in Kaifeng: A Modern Journey to an Ancient Chinese Jewish Community
74 minutes, color, USA 2002
The last rabbi of Kaifeng died well over a century ago, and today's descendants of the ancient Chinese Jewish community have never celebrated Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest. Now, two curious families have invited a modern group of Jewish travelers into their homes, leading to a reunion a thousand years in the making.
Of Stars and Shamrocks: Boston's Jews and Irish
55 minutes, color/B&W, USA 1995
A provocative documentary chronicles the relationship between Boston's Jews and Irish as both groups fought for a foothold in the New World.
60 minutes, color, USA 2002
Traveling in a vintage Cadillac, filmmaker Brian Bain, a third-generation Jew from New Orleans, sets out on a 4,200-mile road trip through the Jewish American South.
52 minutes, color, USA 2005
English and Spanish with English subtitles
Throughout the 20th century, thousands of European Jews sailed to Mexico looking for opportunity. This documentary explores the blending of Jewish and Mexican cultures and customs in an unlikely place.