Judaism films have made, and continue to make an impact on the film industry. There are many different factors, ideas, and values that are incorporated into films based upon the Jewish religion. Stretching from over a century ago, Judaism’s engagement in the cinema started to become more prominent, and gave viewers a different perspective on the Jewish religion, and how this religion fit in to American society. Focusing on the film: Fiddler on the Roof, and the text Judaism, written by Melanie J. Wright, we are able to see different ways the Jewish religion is incorporated into films. Further, we will be analyzing how certain factors talked about in Wrights text are seen throughout the Fiddler on the Roof, and how these concepts have changed the overall interpretation of Jewish films.
In the first scene of Fiddler on the Roof, the viewers get a glimpse of some of the traditions followed by Jewish people. One of the main characters, Teyve, talks about how his “people” have many traditions that are to be followed. Some of these include traditions for working, eating, and even sleeping. In the text, Wright talks about the Screen images of Hasidic Jews. In her text she writes: “…increasing number of films depict the most carefully observant or “ultra-Orthodox” forms of Judaism, especially Hasidism (Wright, 100). This is evident in the first scene of Fiddler on the Roof as Teyve himself shows signs of being “ultra-Orthodox.” What first caught my eye was his beard. When Jewish men are Orthodox, they often have a beard, ones that look quite similar to Teyve’s. Also, in the Jewish religion there are traditions that should be followed, but only in Orthodox situations should they be followed more precisely. For instance, there are...
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...ciety. Throughout the text, Wright mentions how when films such as Fiddler on the Roof became popular, people would watch them and change their views on Jewish people. Since this movie was released after the Holocaust, it helped raise awareness to the different traditions and values of the Jewish people, and showed viewers how happy and successful one can be while following the Jewish religion.
While using the theories that Wright talks about in the text, and comparing them to Fiddler on the Roof, I was able to make connections with what she was saying and what I viewed in the film. I focused my attention mainly on Jews, Judaism, and early cinema as well as Screen images of Hasidic Jews. Both of these concepts became clear to me throughout Fiddler on the Roof, and allowed me to have a better understanding of how Judaism is incorporated throughout the film industry.
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