The Dybbuk

A Hasidic Gothic film based on the play by S. Ansky. In the Polish shtetl Kazimierz, Khonnen and Leah are betrothed by their parents at birth. Years later they finally meet and fall in love, but Leah has since been pledged by her avaricious father to a more wealthy suitor. The desperate Khonnen dies during a forbidden mystical ceremony in which he has summoned the evil spirits in order to win Leah back. His ghost or "dybbuk" (literally "wandering soul") comes back to possess Leah. Leah's stricken family takes her to a "wonder-rabbi" for the climactic exorcism. The most artistic of all Yiddish films, THE DYBBUK, is romantic, mysterious, nostalgic and tribal. Made in 1937, it is a time capsule - a metaphor for class struggle and a story about a woman possessed - made when Freud's ideas on hysteria and sexuality were becoming known throughout Europe. It is a tale which self-consciously explores the links between love, fate and death, ominously foreshadowing East European Jewry's destiny.
w/English Subtitle
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