Performing Arts: Film
As an actress, director, and teacher, Stella Adler transformed a generation of American actors. After achieving stardom in films and on stage, Adler traveled to Paris to rethink the possibilities of Method acting with Stanislavsky. She transmitted the new acting techniques to her students and energized a generation of younger actors who shared her passion for the theater.
In the twentieth century, Jewish women played a disproportionate role in the development of American consumer culture because of a combination of factors. For one, American industry became increasingly consumer-oriented, and consumer industries were comparatively open to small entrepreneurs. For another, Jewish immigrants and their children tended to display strong entrepreneurial tendencies.
Anouk Aimée is perhaps best known for her remarkable presence as an icon of cool, sophisticated beauty in more than seventy films across seven decades, including such classics as Alexandre Astruc’s Le Rideau Cramoisi (The Crimson Curtain, 1952), Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita (1960) and 8 1/2 (1963), Jacques Demy’s Lola (1963), André Delvaux’s Un Soir, un Train (One Evening, One Train, 1968), George Cukor’s Justine (1969), Bernardo Bertolucci’s Tragedy of a Ridiculous Man (1981), Robert Altman’s Prêt à Porter (Ready to Wear, 1994) and, most unforgettably, Claude Lelouch’s Un Homme et une femme (A Man and a Woman, 1966)
She has appeared in approximately forty Israeli feature films, dozens of stage plays and television dramas. Her starring roles in films include Siege, 1969; Highway Queen, 1971; House on Chelouche Street, 1973; My Mother the General, 1979; Summer of Aviya, 1988; Life According to Agfa, 1992; Sh’chur, 1994; and Passover Fever, 1995.
A seminal figure in the history of performance art, Eleanor Antin is one of the most prolific artists of the last three decades, moving freely in many forms of media, including live and installation art, independent film, photography, video, drawing, painting and writing.
Anna Appel was known for her performance of motherly characters in Yiddish and English roles and had a successful career in Yiddish vaudeville, film, and on Broadway. Appel had her big break in 1918 in Morris Schwartz’s popular Yiddish Art Theater; she performed there for ten years, before moving to Yiddish film. In 1928 she made her Broadway debut and performed until 1959.
Eve Arnold was a groundbreaking photographer and writer, known for photographing fashion in Harlem, the McCarthy hearings, the civil rights movement, and Marilyn Monroe, as well as life in China, England, and the Soviet Union. Arnold was the first American woman accepted into Magnum Photos and is credited with making a remarkable artistic contribution to twentieth-century photography.
By focusing on Jewish women artists working in Britain today, whose Jewishness and gender are central to their artistic output, it offered valuable insights into the diverse ways in which women perceive their Jewishness in contemporary Britain. Aware of their complex “otherness” as women, Jews and artists, they put that awareness to good creative use; and in so doing, proved that art has a crucial role to play in exploring—and perhaps crystallizing—issues of identity.
The life of Ellen (Rosenberg) Auerbach was a constant journey of self-discovery and, in her photographic work, a search for the essence that lies behind people and things. Her curious mind, her keen and intuitive eye and her sense of humor permeated her photography, which was re-discovered in the late 1970s, along with that of other avant-garde photographers and artists of the Weimar Republic. Auerbach belonged to the generation of New Women who sought to break with traditional female roles and become independent through their work.
Since the beginning of British colonialization of New South Wales in 1788, when between eight and fifteen Jews were among the convicts who arrived with the First Fleet, several waves of immigration have brought the Jewish population up to its present size.
Lauren Bacall’s 1944 Hollywood debut in To Have and Have Not catapulted this young Jewish actress into instant stardom. Costarring with her husband-to-be, Humphrey Bogart, Bacall soon became known for “The Look”—downturned head, eyes looking up, suggestive of a young woman sexually wise beyond her years. She and Bogart were one of Hollywood’s most famous couples, both on screen and off, and Bacall was famous for her characterizations of women whose strong will complemented, rather than detracted from, their sexual attraction.
The “Baghdadis,” referring to Jews coming mainly from Baghdad, Basra and Aleppo, but also from other Arabic speaking parts of the Ottoman Empire, arrived in India in the late eighteenth century and ultimately formed important diaspora trading communities in Bombay and Calcutta.
Belle Baker has been described as a famed torch singer and vaudeville star, as well as a Yiddish, Broadway, and motion picture actor.
Long before Mae West, Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Jean Harlowe, and Madonna vamped their way across the silver screen, there was Theda Bara—the original celluloid “vamp.”
Winner of several Best Film, Best Director and Best Actress awards from the Israel Institute of Cinema, the multi-talented Michal Bat Adam was the first Israeli woman to direct a feature film.
Baum frequently depicted powerful, self-reliant women caught up in the social and economic turbulence of twentieth-century Europe and America.
For a generation of Americans, Gertrude Berg embodied Jewish motherhood in a series of radio, television, stage, and film performances. She is best remembered as the creative force behind the Goldbergs, a fictitious Jewish family who lived in an apartment at 1038 East Tremont Avenue in the Bronx. In addition to her matriarchal public persona, Berg was also a one of the first American women to work as a writer and producer of radio and television situation comedy.
Elisabeth Bergner, born in Austrian Galicia, was one of the most successful and popular stage and screen actresses in pre-World War II Germany, known for her superior artistic skills and wide variety of roles. During the war, she helped actors escape Germany. She was honored with the Schiller Prize of the City of Mannheim, the Ernst Lubitsch Prize, and the Austrian Cross of Merit for Science and Art.
The French actress Sarah Bernhardt, named by her fans the “Divine Sarah,” is recognized as the first international stage star.
Miriam Bernstein-Cohen, actor, director, poet and translator, was born in Kishinev in 1895.
Glika Bilavsky’s activities ran the gamut of secular Yiddish culture, from her political activism to her theatrical career. She fled Poland with her fiancé, Morris Bilavsky, in 1907 and settled in Copenhagen, where the pair married and created a Yiddish theater troupe. In 1921, the couple moved to New York, where Bilavsky performed and volunteered for Hadassah, United Jewish Appeal, and the women’s auxiliary of Mizrahi.
A beautiful and accomplished stage and screen actress, Blondell was born on August 30, 1906 (some accounts say 1909) on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
Since her first film role in Charlie Chaplin’s Limelight literally propelled her into the limelight, Claire Bloom has been one of the most iconic and popular actresses of her generation.
In her dedication to her 1929 book, The Little Swiss Wood-Carver, Madeline Brandeis, children’s author and producer and director of travel films, sounded her unique multicultural note: “To every child of every land,/Little Sister, Little Brother,/As in this book your lives unfold,/May you learn to love each other.”