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The Light Ahead 1939

  • Edgar G. Ulmer
  • June 1, 1939
  • 94 mins
  • Yiddish
The Light Ahead is possibly the greatest of Edgar G. Ulmer’s shtetl films. Here, the director counterpoints his pastoral Green Fields to criticize the poverty and superstition that oppress a pair of star-crossed lovers. Made on the eve of World War II, The Light Ahead is at once romantic, expressionist, and painfully conscious of the danger about to engulf European Jews. Impoverished and disabled lovers Fishke and Hodel dream of life in the big city of Odessa, free from the poverty and stifling old-world prejudices of the shtetl. The benevolent and enlightened bookseller Mendele helps them, turning small-town superstitions to their advantage. Based on Mendele Mokher Seforim's story of love frustrated by small-town ignorance, this luminous allegory of escape marries Edgar Ulmer's masterful direction with superb acting by members of New York's Artef and Yiddish Art Theaters.

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