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Hester Street1975

  • 3.9
  • passes the bechdel test
Gitl and her son arrive on the Lower East side of New York in 1896 to join her husband Jake. While Jake, who has job in a sweatshop and an English-speaking girlfriend, has completely embraced America, Gitl clings to her old country ways. Jake is embarrassed to be seen with her as he struggles to assimilate by shedding his ethnic heritage. Gitl finds a way to become victor instead of victim.

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Member Reviews (2)

top reviewer

Yankel, a Jewish immigrant from Russia living in late 19th century New York, brings his wife (Carol Kane) and child over from Russia. Yankel has assimilated (he calls himself "Jake") and his family's old world appearance and demeanor embarrass him. He's much more interested in the owner of a dance studio who's much more American than his wife. Joan Micklin Silver's feature film debut is a nice little film. Shot in black and white and on an obviously low budget, it may not completely convincingly capture it's period setting, but it does an admirable job, and the human drama is mildly compelling.

So rare to see an account of an immigrant family assimilating into america in the 1800s from the perspective of the wife! This film is really fascinating, it documents assimilations nauseating and repressive ways and also the strength of peoples ability to retain whats important to them. Show it to your 5th grader friends :P