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September 06, 1991 - Image 18

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-09-06

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

DETROIT

"DID I SEE
ANDREW FEZZA
COMING
OUT OF
WING HONG?"

YES YOU DID

Dmitri Astrachan: Not unlike his characters.

Russian-Produced Film
Depicts Life In The Shtetl

.

AMY J. MEHLER

Staff Writer

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FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 1991

riendship and loyalty
take arms against a
raging tide of envy and
betrayal in the pre-
Communist peasant village
where Motl, the dairy
farmer, lives.
In the make-believe world
of Motl Rabinovich, the
chameleon-like moods of
neighboring Russian peas-
ants command the fates of
Jewish water carriers, wood-
cutters and dairy farmers.
Most days find Jewish and
Russian families milling in
and out of each other's
homes, sharing village
chores, village gossip and
glasses of work-numbing
vodka. Other days find Jew-
ish families cowering inside
barricaded homes, gasping
for breath, guarding their
wives and daughters against
mobs of rampaging, axe-
wielding Russian peasants.
Through Motl, a family
man with a lustful, roving
eye, Soviet Jewish film-
maker Dmitri Astrachan
examines how ignorance,
idleness and fear pervert
ethnic pride and nationalism
into something violent and
ugly.
In Michigan last week for
the Detroit premier of Go
Away, the first Soviet-
produced film to depict Jew-
ish life in a shtetl, Mr.
Astrachan explained why it
was important for him, a
theater producer, to tell this
story through film.
Speaking from his
brother's home in Oak Park,
Mr. Astrachan said film was
the best medium to educate
the largest group of people
about the historic plight of

Soviet Jewry. He said Soviet
Jewry is a prototype of what
happens to people as a result
of hatred and misunderstan-
ding.
"Every people suffers as a
result of prejudice and fear,"
said Mr. Astrachan, 34, ar-
tistic director of the Len-
ingrad Theater of Drama Go
Away "isn't just the Jewish
experience, it's every
nations' experience."
At least 500 people, 100
more than Detroit's Maple 3
Theater can hold, turned out
last Thursday night to see
the movie. Organizers, who
oversold tickets, had to give
some of the audience
refunds. Mr. Astrachan is
accompanying his film on a
U.S. tour organized by
Goldstrak Enterprises of
Detroit.
The film premiered in
Baltimore almost two weeks
ago and will show next mon-
th in Toronto. Subsequent
showings will take place at
the International Film Fes-
tival in Tokyo. The film is
also entered in next April's
International Film Festival
in Durban, South Africa.

Mr. Astrachan and his
theater partner, Oleg
Danilov-Alshez, wrote the
script at the request of
Soviet film director Alexei
German. The film, not yet
released to the public in the
Soviet Union, took two
prizes in May at the annual
Soviet Movie Festival.
Go Away, is based on the
works of classic Soviet Jew-
ish authors like Sholem
Aleichem, Isaak Babel and
Alexander Kupzin. The
movie was produced in 40
days at Lenfilm Studios in
Leningrad. Actual filming
took place at Buckatinca, a

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