Friday, March 23, 2007

This weekend: East lansing

Just arrived in East Lansing Michigan for the 10th annual East Lansing Film Festival.

We had a funny review in the city pulse:

“Yiddish Theater: A Love Story”
Saturday, 3/ 24, 6:30 p.m.
Bresson Theater, Wells Hall
It’s difficult to determine the theme of “Yiddish Theater: A Love Story.” Is it “If you’re old, stay active or you’ll die?” Or is it “Do what you love to do until the Man crushes your hopes and dreams?” I’d like to think it’s a combination of “Make the world remember” mixed with heaping amounts of the American Melting Pot myth, but maybe I’m just being too hopeful.

“Yiddish Theater” has the anxiety of an execution flick, with its deliberate countdown-to-extinction style. The story is told over the course of the eight nights of Hanukkah 2000, the final night of which coincides with both New Year’s Eve and what could possibly be the closing of the Folksbeine, New York’s last surviving Yiddish Theater. (Throughout the first half of the 20th Century, Yiddish theater was as common as traditional theater.) The film even includes the tearful description of a dying loved one. Ends abound here.

The sun is also setting on octogenarian Zypora Spaisman, who has been performing these Off-off-Broadway plays performed entirely in Yiddish since World War II. “Yiddish Theater” branches out and explores the lives of some of the actors and actresses as well, but their lives serve as little more than distraction from the big question of what’s going to happen to the theater on Jan. 1, 2001.
— Allan I. Ross
Here's what they've written about it in their program:

"Directors to visit the 10th East Lansing Film Festival!
This article was posted on Mon, Mar 12 2007

The tenth annual East Lansing Film Festival (ELFF), the largest film festival in Michigan celebrates independent film productions and is excited to bring directors from around the world to attend this year’s festivities! From amazing documentaries to comedic feature films, there is no lack of variety in genres, topics, and directing styles in this year’s festival, which takes place March 21-29, 2007.

Listed below are the films that will have directors attending and the contact information for each director:

Yiddish Theater: A Love Story
6:30pm - Wells Hall, Theater A - Bresson, Rm. 102
Dan Katzir, Director

This fascinating documentary is a poignant portrait of Zypora Spaisman, founder and grand dame of Folksbiene Yiddish Theatre, the only surviving Yiddish theater in New York. Director Katzir interviews the flamboyant actors who are determined to preserve kiddishkeit as well as profile the extraordinary life of the determined, highly energetic and theatrical Spaisman whose love for the theater and the Yiddish language kept American Yiddish Theater alive for 42 years.

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