Just nine days until Jewish Homegrown History closes! And now’s a great time to come back or see the exhibition for the first time. Three recently remixed and newly added films are now on view, thanks to The Labyrinth Project team that created the installation. These new home movies came to Labyrinth’s attention through contacts made at our Home Movie Day at the Skirball in the spring.
Here’s a quick rundown and a few screengrabs of the new films:
FAMILY SECRETS: EVADING HISTORICAL TRAUMA
Peter Vanlaw did not discover that he and his German émigré family were Jewish until he had a heart attack in his fifties. His story is driven by unsolved mysteries concerning his grandmother’s suicide, his mother’s mental breakdown, and his father’s repeated attempts to escape family history. Combining melodrama and historical trauma, this story supports scholar Michele Citron’s claim that “home movies were powerful and necessary fictions that allowed us to see and explore truths that could only be looked at obliquely.” Edited by Daniel Bydlowski.
MIGRATING MIDWESTERNERS: FROM THE WINDY CITY TO SUNNY L.A.
According to historian Deborah Dash Moore, “Midwestern Jews more often migrated to Los Angeles than did their northeastern relatives… and nearly half of all the Midwesterners came from the Windy City.” Pursuing the familiar pattern of “chain migration,” the Lefkowitz family started moving to Los Angeles in 1936, with others following in the 1940s. Back in Chicago, they owned the Roseland Radio Repair Shop and lived behind the store, where Caroline Lefkowitz was born. But in Los Angeles they were seeking new opportunities, better weather, and a more relaxing, fun-filled life. As their footage of cars, planes and speedboats clearly shows, they loved being on the move. Edited by Daniel R. Rabins.
IRANIAN JEWS IN EXILE: FROM TEHRAN TO L.A.
“Before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the number of Iranian Jews in the Los Angeles area was in the hundreds. By 1990 the community claimed nearly 30,000 people, or more than a third of the pre-revolutionary Jewish population of Iran.” Featuring the home movies of Parviz Elison and interviews with three Iranian Jewish American women writers—Dora Levy Mossanen, Gina B. Nahai, and Angella M. Nazarian—this homegrown movie explores what is unique about the Iranian Jewish emigration to Los Angeles. Edited by Daniel Bydlowski.
Jewish Homegrown History closes September 2. Make plans to visit soon. You may even run into one of the film’s stars.