THE LIGHT AHEAD
Directed by master of film noir Edgar G. Ulmer (Detour, Black Cat) on the eve of World War II, this 1939 Yiddish classic is revered as one of the greatest shtetl films. Set in the fictional village of Glupsk, near Odessa Ukraine, David Opatoshu (Exodus, Torn Curtain) and Helen Beverley (Green Fields) are luminous as Fishke and Hodel, an impoverished young couple who dream of a future free from the shtetl’s poverty, corruption, and old-world prejudices. Both a romantic tale and a social critique, the film’s Expressionist set design and cinematography highlight the film’s prescient awareness of the darkness soon to devour European Jewry. For contemporary audiences the film is especially resonant in its depiction of superstition over science amidst a cholera outbreak. One of the most important films in The National Center for Jewish Film’s archive collection, The Light Ahead (Fishke der Krumer) has been newly restored in 4K digital from NCJF’s 35mm original materials.
Director: Edgar G. Ulmer | USA | 1939 | 94m | Yiddish with English subtitles
“A gem radiating warmth and honesty.” – Jewish Weekly
“Beverley and Opatoshu are perhaps the most beautiful couple in the history of Yiddish cinema, and their scenes have a touching erotic chemistry.” – J. Hoberman, Bridge of Light: Yiddish Film Between Two Worlds
“An astonishing artifact that is equal parts vaudeville schtick, Talmudic exegesis, and ghetto melodrama.” – Village Voice
— Preceded by —
JEWISH LIFE IN LWOW
NEW ENGLAND PREMIERE OF NEW DIGITAL RESTORATION
This rare 1939 portrait of the daily lives of Jews in Lwow, Poland (now Lviv, Ukraine), home to a thriving Jewish community before World War II, is one of a handful of surviving films from Warsaw-based filmmakers Shaul Goskind and Yitzhak Goskind. Full of images of stylish women, thriving markets, parks, and promenades, this short documentary captures a prosperous world on the precipice of obliteration by the coming Nazi invasion.
Directors: Shaul Goskind & Yitzhak Goskind | Poland | 1939 |10m | Yiddish with English subtitles
Film restorations with funding from: The Michael H. Baker Family Foundation, The Everett Foundation, Mirowski Family Foundation, Jules Bernstein
Help us rescue & restore rare and endangered films with a donation to our NCJF Reel Funder campaign
Watch A Clip
Sunday, May 7, 4:00 pm
Coolidge Corner Theatre