One of the most spellbinding films of the year, “Shttl” beautifully captures the expansive, multi-character lives and loves of a Yiddish-speaking Jewish village in Ukraine on the Polish border. Mendele, who has been living a secular life in Kiev, finds himself back in the familiar and comforting world of his shtetl, a vibrant place brimming with the romance, politics and intrigue of everyday life, and simmering tensions between tradition and modernity. Set a day before the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, this is a world on the precipice of disaster, and the film unspools with our knowledge of the looming terror and does not flinch in depicting the destruction and loss.
Writer-director Ady Walter’s debut masterpiece (filmed outside of Kyiv before the present war in Ukraine) was audaciously captured in one single take. The remarkable cast is led by Moshe Lobel (Broadway’s Yiddish revival of “Fiddler on the Roof”) and consummate character actor Saul Rubinek (“Hunters,” “Unforgiven”), who is himself fluent in Yiddish and the son of Holocaust survivors.
“Shttl is a gem. A film that deserves a viewing on the loftiest screen available. This film left me breathless.”
—Reel News Daily
Director: Ady Walter, Ukraine/France, 2022, 114 minutes, Yiddish and Ukrainian with English subtitles.
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