If you are an aficianado of smoked fish and you live in New York City, then you are most likely aware of Russ & Daughters. If not, you may become one after seeing this delightful and delectable documentary. This venerable establishment has been selling fish since 1914 and is celebrating its 100th anniversary. Anchoring the film is 100-year-old Hattie Russ Gold and 92-year-old Anne Russ Federman, the daughters of the store’s name and the sturgeon queens of the title. These two live wires reflect on the immigrant experience and their lives behind the counter. The playful banter between them is quite endearing. Well-known enthusiasts of the store are interviewed (with their favorite fish highlighted). They include Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, chef Mario Batali, New Yorker writer Calvin Trillin, and 60 Minutes correspondent Morley Safer. In a creative and innovative manner, filmmaker Julie Cohen also brings together six colorful longtime fans of the store, in their 80s and 90s, who sit around a table of fish reading the narration script in the style of a Passover seder. Regardless how you enter the screening, after seeing this humorous, heartfelt and mouthwatering film, you will certainly leave with an appetite.
Bay Area Premiere