Yiddish Political Cinema – Uncle Moses

Film screening and panel discussion - In collaboration with the Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image

Event Information and Booking

14th June, 2023
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image, 43 Gordon Square, Birkbeck, University of London, WC1H 0PD
Vivi Lachs, Queen Mary, University of London and William Pimlott, Birkbeck Institute for the Study of Antisemitism, University of London

Uncle Moses (Sidney Goldin and Aubrey Scotto, 1932) is widely regarded as one of the finest examples of Yiddish cinema. 

Based on the novel by Sholom Asch, and starring Maurice Schwartz, Uncle Moses is a tale of urban poverty in the age of mass migration. It depicts the painful process of unionization which brings the workers of a Lower East Side clothing factory into conflict with their rich benefactor and employer, ‘Uncle’ Moses. Moses, a master of the harsh new American system with its fourteen-hour workday, attempts to reconstruct the lost harmony of the shtetl in the paternalistic order of his sweatshop.  

Uncle Moses was one of the first Yiddish talkies to engage directly with the progressive currents of the day – political and aesthetic. 

The film (B&W, 87 mins) has been fully restored by the National Center for Jewish Film, USA and will be shown with English subtitles.  

The screening will be followed by a discussion and Q&As.

This screening is one of a series exploring Yiddish political cinema. The second film, Grine Felder, will be shown on the 12 July. These two films explore the political options available to East European Jews in America and Europe before the Holocaust and offer fascinating insight into immigrant life and the modern Jewish experience. 

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