The National Center for Jewish Film Release “Kol Nidre” film in Jerusalem Festival

The National Center for Jewish Film Presents
New Restoration – 1939 Yiddish Musical Drama
World Premiere Screening
Jerusalem International Film Festival, Israel
Monday, July 9, 5:45 pm, Jerusalem Cinematheque Hall 3
Buy Tickets Now –
Q&A with Sharon Pucker Rivo & Lisa Rivo of
The National Center for Jewish Film

22nd Consecutive Year of NCJF Premieres at Jerusalem Film Festival

Kol Nidre marks the on-screen reunion of Leon Liebgold and Lili Liliana, the husband and wife Warsaw actors famous for their roles as the young lovers in 1937’s The Dybbuk. Also featured are the comedienne Yetta Zwerling, Motl the Operator star Chaim Tauber, and popular entertainer and cantor Leibele Waldman.

Kol Nidre’s director, Yiddish cinema pioneer Joseph Seiden, produced 15 Yiddish feature films and many short films between 1931 and 1950, including five films previously restored by NCJF: God, Man and Devil; Love and Sacrifice; The Living Orphan; Motl the Operator; and I Want to Be A Boarder.

Like many shund (low budget, over the top) Yiddish dramas, Kol Nidre is an inventive pastiche of themes and styles, combining family drama and romance with songs and cantorial music.

The film opened at the Clinton Theater on New York’s Lower East Side on September 7, 1939, two weeks before Yom Kippur (when the prayer Kol Nidre is sung) and one week after the Nazi invasion of Poland. Perhaps American Jews found their solidarity at the movies. In the fall of 1939, on the eve of the Jewish catastrophe, Yiddish films reached the pinnacle of their box office success.

Long lost, Kol Nidre has been digitally restored by The National Center for Jewish Film with 490 new English subtitles, using the sole surviving 35mm nitrate print acquired from the family of director Joseph Seiden.

Restoration was completed with funding from the National Film Preservation Foundation and a gift from Linda Lipsett & Jules Bernstein. Additional support came from the the Wellfleet Foundation, Brandeis University, the Massachusetts Cultural Council and The National Center for Jewish Film’s Reel Funders.

USA | 1939 | 88 Minutes | B&W | Yiddish with New English Subtitles
Director: Joseph Seiden
Story: Ben Gitlitz; Photography: Don Malkames; Music: Sholem Secunda
Producer: Cinema Service Corp (Joseph Seiden)
Cast: Joseph Sheongold (Moishe Dorfman), Bertha Hart (Sarah, his wife), Lili Liliana (Jenny, their daughter), Menasha Oppenheim (Jack Grossman), Leon Liebgold (Rabbi Joseph Goldstein), David Lederman (Shmelke Shmelkevitz), Yetta Zwerling (Chasie, his wife), Leibele Waldman (Himself), Chaim Tauber (Himself), Zish Kac, Joel Feig Choir.

2012 Restoration: © The National Center for Jewish Film
Executive Director: Sharon Pucker Rivo; Associate Director: Lisa Rivo; Technical Director: Rich Pontius; Academic Consultant: Sylvia Fuks Fried; Translators: Lillian Leavitt, Solon Beinfeld, Cantor Murray Simon. Special Thanks: Jim Hoberman