“Mothers of Today” Opening Film Screening

Top Pick May 12, 2024 Brookline $15.00
Mothers of Today, National Center for Jewish Film
"Mothers of Today" (Courtesy: National Center for Jewish Film)

This is the New England premiere screening of NCJF’s 35mm premiere of a rare 1939 Yiddish film starring Esther Field, the “Yiddishe Mama” of 1930s radio, as an immigrant Jewish widow in New York who suffers the gradual deterioration of her family and Jewish tradition at the hands of neighborhood criminals and the realities of assimilation. A domestic melodrama—with cantors and gangsters!—Mothers of Today is a fun ride, a time capsule, and a rescued piece of Jewish and cinema history. Bring a hanky for the tsuris, and a few insults to yell at the no-goodniks.

The film is an example of the era’s shund genre: proudly sentimental, low-budget and low-brow fare popular with working-class Jewish immigrant audiences who recognized their lives reflected on the big screen, especially the central role women played in Jewish family life.

“For those with a particular interest in the Yiddish language, there’s an added bonus: It’s a fascinating record of American Yiddish circa 1939. The English words absorbed into the vocabulary (even among the European-born characters) and the American accents in the speech of the younger actors reflect the Yiddish that many of our parents and grandparents spoke. It’s nice to hear it again…Leon Field’s wonderfully over-the-top score provides the eye-rolling and chest-clutching.”
—A.L. Rickman, Forward

Directed by Henry Lynn, USA, 1939, 85 minutes, Yiddish with English subtitles.

This opening film screening features a Q&A with NCJF directors Sharon Pucker Rivo and Lisa Rivo for its 85th anniversary screening.

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Fact Sheet
Sunday, May 12, 2024, 1:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Coolidge Corner Theater
290 Harvard St
Brookline, MA 02446
$15.50 adult

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