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First feature-film klezmer soundtrack in 50 years?

Album cover: video coverIt may be the first feature film in 50 years to use klezmer as the soundtrack - pretty wild when you consider that the film in question, "Dad on the Run" is about the madcap adventures of a French Jewish wedding musician of North African descent.

But the movie is incredibly funny, and well-worth seeing--if only for what may be the first loving circumcision ceremony on film ("when I do a bris, the baby never cries") and a Jewish mother who isn't a misogynist caricature. Even "Fiddler on the Roof" gets a good-bye sendoff.

Why don't American filmmakers do funny movies about Jews that don't involve making fun of being Jewish? Even "Crossing Delancy," which does have some nice, albeit culturally conservative moments, fails on the above-mentioned ceremony (and perhaps also in its culturally moribund moral message). You'd think we could do better. You'd think that a culture that can revive joy of klezmer could be less uncomfortable with making non-self-hating fun of itself. Sheesh, even "Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacob" had to be made in France.


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» Jews in movies from Boston Common
Ari sees the French movie "Dad on the Run" and wonders: Why don't American filmmakers do funny movies about Jews [Read More]


There's a growing body of Jewish film coming out of France, much of it quite mainstream, quite openly Jewish, and completely unapologetic -- like, in recent years, La vérité si je mens (1 and 2), Dieu est grand je suis toute petite (with Audrey Tautou aka Amélie), Ma femme est une actrice (with Charlotte Gainsbourg daughter of Serge), Mina Tannenbaum.

And that's not counting Holocaust- and French Deportation-related movies, of which there are a fair number, too.

I think that the larger not-ashamed-to-show-it Jewish coming-out in French culture has a lot to do with the integration of a proportionately large (majority or nearly-majority) Sephardic community which wasn't used to hiding or downplaying its Jewishness, and saw no conflict between integration and Jewish identity. That has not only done wonders for Jewish culture in France, but has set at outstanding example for the Ashkenazim there, who have followed suit.

Oh, there's also the very popular comedian Gad Elmaleh who is worth noticing. He has become a huge star, not only on French stages and then movie screens, but also in Morocco, where he grew up, and in other parts of North Africa, including a much-talked-about performance in Algeria.

Cool! Thanks for posting that. I'll have to follow up and ask friends in Paris.

Any idea where those of us who live on remote islands in southeast alaska can get ahold of a copy of this delightful sounding fil

If you are asking about the film that prompted this item, click on the link to go to the First Run Features website. They should be able to ship anywhere you choose.

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