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August 06, 1976 - Image 30

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1976-08-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

30 Friday, August 6, 1976

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Charming 'Jewish Gauchos' Hurt by Reviews

BY LOUISE

Gauchos" departed be-
fore most people knew it
had arrived.
To a large extent, the
critics, with their snide,
sarcastic reviews, sent it

(Copyright 1976, JTA, Inc.)

A charming, whimsical,
colorful movie premiered
in New York recently.
But, sadly, "The Jewish

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on its way. Referring to it
as "pablum on the pam-
pas," one said: "And one
must believe that all it
takes to make an epic, is
as many characters as
possible — doing as much
as possible — for as little
time as possible — so that
more can be done by more
characters." Thus, at the
mere whim of a crotchety
critic, the movie "bit the
dust" and never had a
real chance of survival.
The same chap raved
about "Hester Street."
Why? It showed one
Jewish husband in an un-
favorable light, depicting
him as immoral and adul-
terous ; sending for his
family and then asking
for a divorce to marry a
woman he had consorted
with, while his wife was
still in the Old Country.
But in the case of "The
Jewish Gauchos" there is
warmth, and tenderness
and love. It's a beautiful
experience to be shared by
everyone who has ever
been an immigrant, or a
descendent of one (which
puts us all in the same
category).
When a group of Jewish
immigrants arrive at
their new Argentine
homeland, after an
exhausting, long trip
from Russia, they are
temporarily sheltered in
enormous barracks. Fam-
ily heirlooms, brit-brae,
and sentimental objects
are placed in makeshift
living quarters.
Cramped and living in
close proximity, they
soon settle on allotted
land, to raise crops and
cattle. It's a haven from
the oppression of Czarist
Russia in the 1890s; for
each family still bears the
scars of tyranny and per-
secution.
The land is enormous,
and the problems of til-
ling the soil, building
homes and adapting to
their new, strange envi-
ronment is a challenge.
Having meager village
skills, they must learn to
adjust to bewildering
surroundings. And ad-
just they do!
The town's new doctor
is fawned over by over-
zealous widows and old
maids. But he seems to
enjoy being made the
center of attraction. He's
an excellent physician,
however, and when a
young woman with a
heart condition tells him
she has been warned not
to go through with her
pregnancy, he instills
such courage and deter-
mination in her that even
her husband is amazed at
her constant cheerful-
ness.
Pride and honor are
ever-pre8ent in the movie.
Especially poignant is the
situation of a father who
witnesses a knife-fight be-
tween his young, inexperi-
enced son, and a repug-
nant, devious fellow who
tries to discredit the boy.
The son flinches as his op-
ponent slashes out at him.

The father, believing
his son is acting coward-
ly, steps into the fight,
and without any warn-
ing, plunges a knife into
his own progeny. The im-
pact of his action is shat-
tering.
However, there is a
touch of romance and
gaiety, as a beautiful girl
is matched up with the
ponderous, unattractive
son of a wealthy family.
She has no desire to
marry him, and when her
true love shows up at the
wedding, she flees the
wedding party and rides
away, side-saddle with
the man of her choice.
A bewildered, brooding
bridegroom is convinced,
"it's better that way" and
he accedes to the wishes
of the rabbi to grant his
vanished bride a divorce.
Meanwhile, the young
mother gives birth to a
bouncing, healthy boy, the
first-born in the new col-
ony. The extraordinary
performance of the expec-
tant mother (singer
Ginamaria Hidalgo) is one
of the highlights of the
film. Her voice is lyrical
and crystal clear and it is
understandable why she
has won virtually every
award and commendation
for artistic performances
in Argentina including
three "Martin Fierro's" —
Argentina's equivalent of
a combined Oscar and
Emmv Award.
At the conclusion of the
movie the new immig-
rants have been accepted
by their neighbors, to live
in peace and harmony,
and 'enjoy being Jewish
Gauchos . . . (The dream
of the great philan-
thropist Baron Hirsch,
who had purchased huge
tracts of land in Argen-
tina to resettle whole,
groups of his persecuted
brethren had become a
tangible, joyful reality.)
"The Jewish Gauchos"
is rich in tradition, and
haunting in spiritual and
moral values. It embodies
an aura of contentment
and conviviality, sot
against a background of
beauty immeasurable in
breadth and scope.
How anyone could fail
to be charmed by its color
and choreography, its lilt-
ing songs and dances, is a
complete mystery. Yet,
for all its magical values,
"The Jewish Gauchos"
was doomed to oblivion by
the crudity and
"chutzpah" of certain cri-
tics.
Nevertheless,
ac-
colades are due to Julio
Tanjeloff Productions,
for a job well clone in br-
inging the film to us.
Given a little more time
— and a lot more publicity
— there may still be a
chance for success for
"The Jewish Gauchos."

Every Sabbath has its
luck. (So says the poor
man who receives his
Sabbath needs from the
Almighty.)
—Folk Proverb

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