Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles
2019 | Musical | 92 minutes | In English
Film critic Peter Travers wrote in his review of Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles, that the film was an exhilarating, expansive warts-and-all look into the 1964 Broadway phenomenon Fiddler on the Roof. Based on the short stories of Yiddish writer Sholem Aleichem, the story takes place in the small, rural, Russian town of Anatevka and focuses on Tevye, a struggling milkman. He’s especially tormented by his five daughters and their gall for wanting to choose their own husbands rather than accept the ones selected by the local matchmaker. Their lives are overturned when the anti-Semitic Russian government forces them to move from their sheltered town to who knows where. Using superb archival film footages, director Max Lewkowicz weaves conversations, scenes, and stories that depict the show’s difficult creation. Also impressive are admiring comments by such worthy notables as Lin- Manuel Miranda, Itzhak Perlman, and Stephen Sondheim.
Joseph Stein (book writer) / Jerry Bock (composer) / Harold Prince (producer) / Norman Jewison (director of the film version) / Josh Mostel (Zero Mostel’s son) / Joel Grey (director of the Yiddish version) / Lin-Manuel Miranda / Itzhak Perlman / Stephen Sondheim
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 100%
- Metacritic Score: 80
- The film may receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary.
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FIDDLER makes itself essential viewing by chronicling the turbulent genesis of a global sensation. But its real miracle is demonstrating why it continues to entertain and illuminate. The film allows us to see how FIDDLER was put together by a band of outsiders who constantly questioned its artistic viability and commerciality. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the portrait of Jerome Robbins, the show’s dazzling, notoriously difficult director and choreographer. The Bottle Dance sequence remains one of finest achievements in choreography as characterization.
Max Lewkowicz’s documentary keeps reminding us of the multiple sources of inspiration for this quintessentially Jewish musical, from the paintings of Marc Chagall to the politics of the day. FIDDLER is at once timeless and a product of its time. Some shows deserve reverential treatment. And the love letter is, to use a word so associated with this show it influences the way many say it, tradition.
What makes FIDDLER brilliant is that it demonstrates how universal this distinctly Jewish musical has become, how it has been embraced by many cultures and how it is still influential today.
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