The Light Ahead (Castro)


A classic by B-movie maverick Edgar G. Ulmer (The Black Cat, Detour), THE LIGHT AHEAD  is one of the finest examples of pre-WWII American Yiddish cinema. Shot in Ulmer’s trademark expressionistic visual style and featuring a large ensemble cast from New York’s Artef and Yiddish Art Theatres, the film is a document of a lost era. The film follows Fishke and Hodel, a young disabled couple, as they strive to escape the oppressive disease and poverty of their shtetl. They are aided by Mendele, a local bookseller who harnesses the town’s strong belief in superstition to work in their favor, brokering a black wedding to ward off the shtetl’s cholera epidemic. At once a touching comedic drama and poignant social critique, Ulmer’s film is markedly distinct from Hollywood offerings of the era, and is a prescient allegory for the looming peril facing European Jews on the eve of the Second World War. Restored from original 35mm materials by the National Center for Jewish Film.

Zachary M. Baker was the Reinhard Family Curator of Judaica and Hebraica Collections in the Stanford University Libraries from 1999 to 2018. In addition, from 2010 to 2017 he served as that library’s Assistant University Librarian for Collection Development (Humanities and Social Sciences). Before coming to Stanford, Zachary was Head Librarian of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research (1987-1999). Now retired, he is currently an active member of the core research team of the Digital Yiddish Theatre Project and is on the Board of Directors of In geveb: a journal of Yiddish studies.

LIVE at the Castro

To purchase streaming tickets, CLICK HERE.

Release Year
Running Time