Mir Kumen ON! – Yiddish Cinemathèque

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NEW YORK — There are entire libraries of books that describe “the Old Country,” the Jewish communities in the cities and shtetls of Europe prior to the attempted Nazi genocide. There is far less of it on film, especially primary source documentaries. The percentage of what is easily available is about to shoot up, thanks to a new digital print of “Mir Kumen On (Children Must Laugh).”

This educational film from 1936 (or, to be fair, propaganda film, but more on that in a moment) is one of the precious few surviving movies evoking Jewish life in Poland prior to its poisoning from external, racist forces.

The newly patched-together, cleaned-up print is the work of France’s Lobster Films, Germany’s Deutsche Kinemathek, Poland’s Filmoteka Narodowa, the American film and home video distributor Kino Lorber and New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

Its first screening was at MoMA’s 14th annual “To Save and Project,” a festival of restored films. (Don’t think they are all such noble picks — the top bill was the ubiquitous horror flick “Night of the Living Dead,” now with a new coat of paint.)

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