“Romeo & Juliet in Yiddish” Opens Today: Critics Weigh In

 

The 2011 New York Jewish Film Festival hit Romeo & Juliet in Yiddish, directed by Eve Annenberg, is back at the Film Society for a limited release at our Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center. Don’t miss the filmmaker and cast members in person at the following screenings: Friday, July 8 and Saturday, July 9 at 7:15pm & 9:30pm and on Sunday, July 10 at 1:15pm & 5:15pm.

J. Hoberman of The Village Voice calls the film “tender and funny":

A feature-length American Yiddish movie made in color on the streets of Williamsburg, as well as the first-ever to boast a (very tasteful) nude scene, Annenberg’s attitudinous Shakespeare riff is a unique blend of psychodrama, ethnographic experimentation, and high-concept hustle. The filmmaker was inspired by and cast her movie mainly with “out” Hasidim: adventurous young people who have left their communities but retained their mameloshn (mother tongue).

A.O. Scott of The New York Times:

Romeo & Juliet in Yiddish tucks Shakespeare’s tale of greatest woe into a story of intra-Judaic culture clash in present-day Brooklyn. The film, written and directed by Eve Annenberg (who also stars) is sprawling and sometimes confusing, but its premise is charming and not at all far-fetched. Anyone who loves “West Side Story” knows that New York is full of warring tribes and clans to serve as Montagues and Capulets. And Shakespeare was a staple of Second Avenue back in the glory days of the Yiddish theater. So Ms. Annenberg, by all appearances an eager omnivore, has plenty to work with.

And film critic Brandon Judell, who saw Romeo & Juliet in Yiddish at the New York Jewish Film Festival, calls it "a tasty bowl of celluloid chicken soup":

If Shakespeare were alive today and in good health, as I'd wish him to be in, he'd probably be begging for a circumcision to honor this little film that gets the gist of his most famous tragedy down pretty good. It's not perfect, but what's perfect, I ask you?

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