Garden Cinemas to showcase historic Jewish films 

Published: 3/19/2023 10:28:59 AM

Our marquee currently features the name of a silent film we are showing on April 3, “City Without Jews” (1924). The film is brought to Greenfield through the auspices of the Sunrise Foundation for Education and the Arts which is also supporting our May 1 showing of the silent film, “The Ancient Law,” which is a selection along with “Paris Boutique” (May 7) of the Pioneer Valley Jewish Film Festival.

City Without Jews takes its title from the anti-Nazi 1922 novel by the Jewish author Hugo Bettauner. Bettauner was murdered by a Nazi party member shortly after the premier of the film. The assassin was released after only two years of incarceration. The film features among others Jewish actors EugenNeufeld, GilseaWerbisek and Armin Berg. Our showing will feature live music by amazing musicians including world renowned klezmer violinist Alicia Svigals and pianist David Sosin. Following the film, the Garden will host a conversation about antisemitism led by the Greenfield Human Rights Commission.

This film has played at temples, universities and Jewish film festivals all over the country and throughout Europe. On March 26, this same film/concert will perform at the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia, an affiliate of the Smithsonian. On April 18, it will play at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library in Poughkeepsie, New York. In August it will be featured as part of the Berkshire Jewish Film Festival.

The film was originally intended (in 1924) as a satirical comedy focused on the ridiculous antisemitic propaganda sweeping through Europe, though it soon became seen as a prescient film. This film facilitates deep conversations of antisemitism, which was considered normal in the 1920s. Sadly, today that kind of hate is again on the rise in this country and others. We believe understanding how what seems as farcical antisemitism can quickly become genocide is incredibly important.

We understand that some individuals may be offended by the title, as they should be. The title is intended by the author and filmmaker to be provocative. Provocative titles of films are nothing new to the Garden. In 2018 you saw the title BlacKkKlansman on our marquee. We invite those who have strong feelings or want to learn more to come watch the film and be part of the discussion. And of course, we will have the popcorn waiting.

Isaac Mass

Greenfield Garden Cinemas


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