The Jewish Experience in American Film

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Duration 01:09:42

Yale University

Marc Lapadula is a Senior Lecturer in the Film Studies Program at Yale University. He is a playwright, screenwriter and an award-winning film producer. In addition to Yale, Marc has taught at Columbia University’s Graduate Film School, created the screenwriting programs at both The University of Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins–where he won Outstanding Teaching awards–and has lectured on British and American Theatre and playwriting. Lapadula has given highly acclaimed classic film lectures on a wide range of cinema topics across the country at notable venues, such as: The National Press Club, The Smithsonian Institution, The Commonwealth Club, The Cleveland Museum of Art, and The New York Historical Society.


Produced shortly after World War II, and extremely controversial for their time, films like Crossfire and Gentleman’s Agreement startled audiences by provocatively portraying the plight of Jewish individuals dealing with the challenges of assimilating into mainstream American life. Tackling social issues like anti-Semitism, accomplished film directors embedded poignant themes of the Jewish American experience into movies that general audiences enthusiastically embraced. Issues of integration, discrimination, social justice, the plight of the underdog and the unique articulation of Jewish humor are explored in a number of dramatic as well as comic clips from films such as The Jazz Singer, Crossfire, The Young Lions, Gentleman’s Agreement, Julia, and The Birdcage.



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