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Hester Street Academy Award Nomination! 

By Jenny Brown

Hester Street is a delightfully quaint film about the assimilation of Jewish immigrants in America in the late 1800s. Steven Keats is Jake, a self-made Yankee who has shaved his beard and side curls in favor of an updated look. An émigré from Russia, Jake's been living in New York's Lower East Side for five years, taking up with a new woman and earning enough money to support his dance hall ways. To his dismay, his wife, Gitl (played charmingly by Carol Kane), and son, Yossele, join him from the Old World. Jake is embarrassed by his wife, who retains her religious ways, wearing the wigs and scarves that tradition dictates. In turn, Gitl is distraught over the changes in Jake, who insists on calling their son Joey and trying to modernize them both.

Those used to Kane as a comedian will be surprised at her quiet performance in this simple period piece, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award. Her story, though, is compelling, and in the end, immensely satisfying. The black and white film is rough around the edges--microphones in shots, occasional poor sound--but Hester Street nonetheless offers an engaging look at another time and a completely different way of life.

Academy Awards

Hester Street received an Academy Awards nomination for Actress (Carol Kane).

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Buy this VHS movie from! (Click here!)DVD unavailableSoundtrack unavailable at - try eBay (see links below)Rated PGNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: Joan Micklin Silver

Stars: Carol Kane, Steven Keats, Mel Howard

Released: August 10, 1975

Availability: VHS

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