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Archive for July 24th, 2009

fiddler 1

by Sam Juliano

     Based on stories by Ukranian writer Sholem Aleichem, the Harold Prince production of Fiddler on the Roof stands as one of the most beloved musicals in Broadway history, and has inspired productions all around the world.  The show debuted at the Imperial Theatre in New York in September 1964 and ran till July of 1972, amassing an impressive 3242 performances.  It has spawned four revivals, and has been regularly performed by school and community groups.  It’s beautiful score has produced some of the most widely-loved standards of the past fifty years, but perhaps most significantly, it has galvanized audiences worldwide, celebrating as it does the trasncendent themes of tradition during change, homelessness and suffering and religious faith and doubt.  But this is central work in the Jewish experience, as it poignantly chronicles religious persecution and the indominable spirit of  a people who stood steadfast in their devotion to God, community and family, and Fiddler on the Roof, set in a Russian village, is a symbol for Jews moving to America at the turn of the century and of  the inevitable geographical transience that has informed a number of ethnic groups.   The musical’s title stems from a painting by Marc Chagall, one of many surreal works he created of Eastern European Jewish life, often including a fiddler.  The fiddler is a metaphor for survival, through traditional and joyfulness, in a life of uncertainty and imbalance. (more…)

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hourglass

by Allan Fish

(Poland 1973 124m) DVD2

Aka. Sanatorium podklepsydra

Here he hasn’t yet died

p  Wojciech Has  d/w  Wojciech Has  stories  Bruno Schulz  ph  Witold Sobocinski  ed  Wojciech Has  m  Jerzy Maskymiuk  art  Andrzej Plocki, Jerzy Sjarzynski

Jan Nowicki (Józef), Gustaw Holoubek (Dr Gotard), Tadeusz Kondrat (Jakub, Józef’s father), Halina Kowalska (Adela), Irena Orska (Józef’s mother), Mieczyslaw Voit (blind conductor), Bozena Adamek (Bianca), Janina Sokolowska (nurse),

Anyone who has seen Wojciech Has’s earlier phantasmagoria The Saragossa Manuscript would find it hard to believe that Has would later make another masterwork even more surreal than its predecessor.  Likewise, I’m sure that when filming stopped on Andrzej Zulawski’s The Third Part of the Night, lead actor Jan Nowicki would have been forgiven for thinking that he’d just made the weirdest film he would ever be in.  Lesson to learn – never presume anything!

            Ostensibly the plot of Sanatorium surrounds the journey made by Józef, who arrives after a long train journey at his destination, a seemingly derelict sanatorium out in the middle of nowhere where his dying father is being treated.  He’s told soon after his arrival that his father, though actually dead in Józef’s world, he’ll be brought back to life as time can be altered in the sanatorium (in the Doctor’s words, they “reactivate time past with all its possibilities”).  (more…)

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