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My parents had this in their film collection while I was growing up, and I remember watching it repeatedly between about age 8-12. I think my mother took me once to see the play even. Aided in coloring my imagination, for sure. Then my mother gave me the soundtrack while I was a teen. Ha All of these songs stuck with me and regularly continue to run through my mind at random.
As a kid I didn’t understand much about it all so far as what had really happened to Russian Jews — to me it was just a deeply interesting story framed nicely as a musical. Was a film I liked to pull out from time to time, but it’s been a few years since I last watched it. Can’t personally claim today to know a great deal about Jews in general other than what I’ve read, most of that told by Holocaust survivors, which obviously is a separate reality than Russian Jews faced. (And you’d think I’d have looked more into that by now.) Met a few Jews over time and found them pleasant. Am aware of all the “conspiracy theories” out there about select Jews in power, and of course there’s the Israel/Palestine concern that I’ve grown familiar on as well. But none of that has anything to do with this movie, so it’s best to dump that out of your brain before watching it.
It’s a story framed from a relatively poor family’s perspective, specifically the father Tevye’s, set in Tsarist Russia right at the beginning of the 20th century. It tells of his eldest daughters and how he goes through this mind-bender in watching the traditions he wished to hold so fast to slip away, culminating in the Tsar attacking their village and forcing them to leave their homes. It’s actually a very touching and sad film despite the comedic first half (that most people I figure don’t watch past, ha), and it’s the kind of film that does deserve attention and consideration. Why? Because the story is so very well-told and the acting is truly amazing. Really allows you to completely submerse yourself and ‘feel’ the story as it unfolds. The characters are all well-developed and the chemistry between the actors and actresses is very convincing. Especially Tevye — he’s my favorite character in the whole story.
True, of course true.
Rewatching this again tonight, I truly do love and enjoy this film. Soul food. And I genuinely appreciate each and every song in it.
I wonder if I ever would have been open to this film had it not been ’til adulthood when I fest saw it. Somehow I doubt it. So thankfully it had a chance to make an impression of its own on me before my mind was filled with so much else.
Halfway through it again now…
This is exactly what I needed tonight. It both cracks me up and at other times is a tear-jerker, to be frank. lol Judge if you must. I’m the sentimental sort. ha It’s the kind of story that when I sink it into it, the characters very much come alive and it ceases to be just a film. It’s a wonderful story that illustrates very radical change incrementally confronting simple people (and simple here is certainly not intended in the pejorative sense), and it turns out quite humbling.
At the “sunrise, sunset” scene where Tzeitel marries Motel is where I paused. Back to viewing…
Now at the end. It’s truly amazing the power films have to penetrate the psyche.