The glory days of the Yiddish stage are brought to life in this funny saga of a legendary theatrical family, The Bursteins. Smoothly incorporating rare archival footage and interviews with Yiddish stage veterans, this tightly edited, briskly paced documentary is as richly bittersweet — filled with the laughter and tears, schmaltz and grit —as the Yiddish theater itself.
Winner of the Israeli Academy Award for Best Documentary Film (1999)
Ruth Films is now re-releasing a newly restored digital copy of the film classic worldwide.
Arnon Goldfinger is Israeli film director, scriptwriter, and producer. Goldfinger is a winner of two Israeli Film Academy Awards, best known for his documentary films "The Flat" ("Hadira"), and "The Komediant" which gained international critical acclaim and won many national and international prizes. Goldfinger lectures at the Tisch School of Film and Television at the Tel Aviv University.
Directed by: Arnon GoldfingerScript: Oshra Schwartz-ReimProduced by: Arnon Goldfinger, Amir Harel, Oshra Schwartz-ReimCinematography: Yoram MilloEditing: Einat Glaser-ZarhinSound: Tomer IlanSupported by: New Fund for Cinema and Television, TV Keshet – The Film project, National Authority of Yiddish Culture, National Council for Culture and Arts, The Avraham Y. Lerner Foundation, Memorial Foundation for Jewish CultureLanguage: English, Yiddish, Hebrew with English subtitles
The glory days of the Yiddish stage are brought to life in this funny saga of a legendary theatrical family, The Bursteins. Smoothly incorporating rare archival footage and interviews with Yiddish stage veterans, this tightly edited, briskly paced documentary is as richly bittersweet — filled with the laughter and tears, schmaltz and grit —as the Yiddish theater itself. Winner of the Israeli Academy Award for Best Documentary Film (1999) Ruth Films is now re-releasing a newly restored digital copy of the film classic worldwide. Arnon Goldfinger is Israeli film director, scriptwriter, and producer....
"Abosoultly wonderful!!” Mel Brooks
“This Marvelous film chronicles a time that was a part of all of our lives” Carl Reiner
"WONDERFUL"( LA TIMES)
"DELIGHT" (THE NEW YORKER)
"TERRIFIC" (NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
"MARVELOUS" (LA NEW TIMES)
"CLEVER" (JEWISH WEEK)
“A dream of a documentary" (TV GUIDE)
“A linguistic stew with a zesty, homemade flavor" (VILLAGE VOICE)
"The warm wonderful film sparkles with the wisdom and humor of its subjects… The range of the unique film clips is astonishing"
Kevin Thomas, LA Times
"The Komediant makes one thing abundantly clear. American musical comedy as we know it wouldn't exist without the precedent of Yiddish theater, whose jolly, fun-for-fun's-sake communal spirit goes to the
essence of Broadway.”
Stephen Holden, The New York Times
“A savory stuffed cabbage of showbiz lore that adeptly balances the sweet
with the sour. As charming, humorous and heimisch as its nomadic subjects.”
Jan Stuart, Newsday
"An exuberant tribute to a famed Yiddish theater family bursts its documentary bounds to become a kind of Jewish "Sound of Music." (Director) Arnon Goldfinger's loving look-back has a little bit of everything; generational conflicts, emotional resolutions, sweeping historical background and a sense of cultural history on the turn. It's a wonderfully multilayered musical tour through much of the last century. This unusually emotion-rich documentary is a chronicle of happy endings snatched from impending disasters”
Bob Campbell, New Jersey Star-Ledger
"A four – stars of David rating!! A joyous, even ecstatic experience. An exuberant tribute to the earthy, boisterous, if regrettably fading phenomenon of Yiddish theater”
Robert Brustein, Forward
“A lovely tribute to an overlooked piece of New York's history. Goldfinger does a terrific job exploring the broader history of Yiddish theater, while also homing in on the compelling story of the Burstein family itself. It's a deeply personal movie that can speak to anyone”.
Elizabeth Weitzman, Daily News
“A linguistic stew with a zesty, homemade flavor that belies its carefully
J. Hoberman, Village Voice
“The meaning of "born in a trunk" has rarely been as affectingly presented onscreen as in Arnon Goldfinger "The Komediant." Elegantly constructed, with real cleverness and aplomb… vividly and even
caustically… as gripping as any dramatized version could be …The range of coverage and research is astonishing".
Robert Koheler, Variety
"A clever and entertaining movie.. documentation of a world all but vanished"
Gerorge Robinson, Jewish week
“This marvelous documentary touches -- ever so gracefully -- on the entire history of the Yiddish theater”
David Eherstein, Los Angeles New Times
“A dream of a documentary!! It features a relatively unfamiliar but fascinating subject, a cast of colorful characters, and all the intrigue and family conflict of a Victorian novel…There are far too many choice moments to single any one out.“
Ken Fox, TV Guide.
“If you ever enjoyed the Marx Brothers, the Ed Sullivan show, Las Vegas or Krusty the Clown… you owe a small debt of gratitude to the legendary Yiddish entertainer Pesach’ke Burstein”
Darren D’Addario, Time Out NY
"3.5 Stars. Fascinating!"
Charles Britton, Rave!
"A bittersweet remembrance of a long-gone era in showbiz. Archival clips and home movies are used to terrific effect. Fyvush Finkel's account of the authoritarian Hebrew actors Union is priceless"
Franck Scheck, Hollywood Reporter
“The harum-scarum, funny and poignant world of the Yiddish theatre is thoroughly explored in this absorbing documentary about one seminal family. The Komediant is rife with the rueful, wry humor springing out of Yiddish culture. Guest interviewees Like priceless veteran actor Fyvush Finkel, add to the rich flavor. "
David Noh, Film Journal International
“Exuberant and joyous, absorbing for its entire… remarkably edited with an array of captivating archival fare. Mazel Tov, for bringing us a family memoir that should have its audience kvelling and shvitzing, one which excites our interest in a flourishing Yiddish theater that to our misfortune we will never see again.”
Harvey S. Karten, Compuserve
"Equivalent to a page-turner.. with all the upheavals of the twentieth century. The movie enthralls and delights"
Michael Sragow, The New Yorker
"A sharp and quick documentary that is funny and pithy, while illuminating an era of theatrical comedy that, while past, really isn't."
Tim Cogshell, Boxoffice Magazine
"Remarkable! Beautifully made and meticulously researched, this highly evocative movie will appeal to all theater and film buffs"
Jan Aaron, Education Update
"Fascinating! See this Film!"
Gila Werthheimer, Chicago Jewish Star
"The best Israeli documentary film of the past few years !! Do not miss !! The Komediant educates the viewers and fascinates those who are not the natural target audience of Yiddish, because it is made of superior universal materials .. All the ends are connected in the film wisely, and the materials made of it are beautiful and moving "
Benny Meyersdorf, Hair
"The Komediant is an exemplary documentary in which the creators seek forgiveness - for leaving our parents to die without looking back ... The film is composed of many components and layers - personal, human, emotional, rational, political and hysterical - each of which functions wonderfully in its own right. Crystallize - in the workmanship of an excellent script, excellent direction, and brilliant editing - to the perfect mix of an exemplary documentary!"
Kobi Niv, Maariv