Friday, August 27, 2010

Movie Time

I'm not quite sure why I haven't seen this film until now. It caught me in the first scene, when the bookseller pulls his cart through town hawking his wares, "Storybooks for women! Sacred books for men!"

Barbra Streisand portrays Yentl Mendel, a girl living in an Ashkenazi shtetl in Poland in the early 20th century. Yentl's Father, Rebbe Mendel (Nehemiah Persoff), secretly instructs her in the Talmud despite the proscription of such study by women according to the custom of her community.

After the death of her father, Yentl decides to dress like a man, take her late brother's name, Anshel, and enter a Jewish religious school, oryeshiva. Upon entering the yeshiva, Yentl makes friends with a fellow student, Avigdor (Mandy Pantinkin), and meets his fiancée Hadass (Amy Irving). The story is complicated as Hadass's family cancels her wedding to Avigdor over fears that his family is tainted with insanity, and decides that she should marry Anshel instead. Meanwhile, Hadass develops romantic feelings for Yentl (as Anshel), while Yentl herself is falling in love with Avigdor. After much turmoil, Avigdor and Hadass are reunited, while Yentl leaves Europe to go to America, where she hopes to lead a freer life.

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