Eli Eli

1790. ELI ELI (1940-USA). With ESTHER (“The Yiddishe Maima”) FIELD, LAZAR FREED. Music by SHOLOM SECUNDA. In the years immediately prior to World War II, a Yiddish-language film industry flourished in America. Their films’ scenarios were generally rooted in the Yiddish theater and focused on tradition, obligation, sacrifice and faith, mostly within the family structure. This poignant, revealing drama-with- music tells the story of Hannah and Mendel, a sweet, aging immigrant farm couple. Their patronizingĂ‘ and very AmericanizedĂ‘ children will not give them the few dollars needed to keep the farm going. These lifelong companions, who know each other so well, love each other so much (and do not have that much time remaining together anyway), are forced by their offspring to separate, Mendel moves to one city and takes up residence with one child, while Hannah goes to another city and boards with the other. At the heart of the film are the intense, moving performances of Freed and Field; the latter embodies the stock character of the big-bosomed, self-sacrificing, world-weary Jewish mother with a special dignity and feeling. In particular, not a dry eye will remain as she (both alone and with Freed) performs Sholom Secunda’s stirring songs. In Yiddish with English subtitles. 84 minutes. Music Melodrama