The Jewish tradition of oral history lends itself easily to a cinematic format. The history of Hollywood offers a showcase of groundbreaking works from the most celebrated directors. Even lesser-known artists and filmmakers have created some truly memorable moments in filmmaking history. From mainstream directors such as Steven Spielberg to more artistic filmmakers such as Stanley Kubrick, Jewish artists have played a key role in creating the history of the silver screen. Learning more about the Jewish artists who have made the biggest impact on the industry is a way to better understand and appreciate both Jewish culture and the films created to celebrate and preserve it.
Movies can provide a fun way for audiences to learn more about historical events and different cultures. Animated films such as “The Prince of Egypt” detail some of the most important stories in the Jewish tradition. Such family-friendly films can provide a fun way for younger audience members to learn more about the subject. Movies dating as far back as the 1915 silent film “The Golem” provide an important glimpse of early Hollywood. Other movies, such as Michael Mann’s “The Keep,” offer a more contemporary twist on the characters from Jewish mythology. More serious works such as “Schindler’s List” can provide audiences with a better understanding of the Holocaust and other tragedies that have shaped Jewish history. Thanks to movies that cover almost every aspect of Jewish history, audiences can learn a great deal about the culture.
Not all of the films by Jewish filmmakers have to provide an educational experience. The signature wit and humor of director Woody Allen has entertained audiences for decades. Celebrated filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen have created stories that range from oddball comedies to dramatic thrillers such as “No Country for Old Men.” Academy Award-winner Steven Spielberg has created some of the most famous and iconic moments in Hollywood history. Jewish filmmakers have been responsible for creating everything from classic comedies such as “Annie Hall” to beloved films such as “E.T.” and “Jaws.” Exploring the work of the most accomplished Jewish filmmakers can provide audiences with countless hours of entertainment.
The Jewish culture is defined by a rich tradition of written and oral history. Religious laws, cultural events, and mythology have served to keep the Jewish culture intact for thousands of years. Such traditions translate very naturally into the art of filmmaking.
For those who wish to reconnect with their own culture or simply learn more about Jewish movies, attending a film festival can be an excellent opportunity. A number of important Jewish film festivals are held each year. The festivals are designed to showcase the work of lesser-known artists and to find a wider audience for films and productions. Those who wish to attend can find the opportunity to learn more about the films and artists they are most interested in. From San Francisco to Austin, film buffs and students who are interested in Jewish history can find plenty of great Jewish film festivals.
The many contributions made by Jewish filmmakers have played an important part in Hollywood history. With both oral and written history creating such a natural bridge into the world of film, the cinema provides a wonderful opportunity to document, explore, and celebrate this unique culture. Moviegoing audiences and history students alike would be wise to explore some of the works and films that have created a lasting impact on the Hollywood landscape. With so many great films to choose from, you may be surprised at what you are able to discover.
Filmmaking provides a natural extension for the oral traditions that have come to define the Jewish people. If you are interested in celebrated directors or films that showcase Jewish history and mythology, you’ll find plenty. Jewish film festivals can provide an even more exciting opportunity for audiences. Anyone who wishes to learn more about Jewish culture would do well to consider the films that are helping to preserve and define it well into a new century. Jewish filmmaking has played an important role in Hollywood from the earliest motion pictures to the most anticipated new releases. Finding films that provide greater insight into Jewish culture can be a very rewarding experience for Jews and non-Jews alike.