Directed by Joseph Dorman
Rich in historical context, Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness charts the life of the leading Yiddish author and playwright whose stories inspired the Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof.
The documentary uses Aleichem’s life as a springboard to explore both the history of eastern European Jews and the evolution of the Yiddish language, seamlessly weaving these stories together.
Audiences interested in Jewish literature will find Laughing in the Darkness compelling for its deep analysis of Aleichem’s works, featuring a selection of experts and the writer’s granddaughter, Bel Kaufman.
But with its obscure allusions, the doc may be difficult to follow for those unacquainted with Jewish culture and history.
The doc may be difficult to follow for those unacquainted with Jewish culture and history
Aleichem, a notorious gambler who lost a sizeable inheritance from his father-in-law on the Kiev stock exchange, is portrayed as a mythological character rather than the flawed person he was. Laughing in the Darkness frames his weaknesses in a positive light, which takes away from the movie’s candour.
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