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Paul Parish

Dybbuk, The Old Movie

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If you're thinking about seeing the Robbins program -- and it's a great one -- and you have the time, it might really pay off to put some research into the Dybbuk.

There's a fantastic movie THE DYBBUK from 1937, from the great Yiddish theater of Warsaw, that I'd rank with the Passion of St Joan and Vampyr and the Kabinet of Dr Caligari, and Vampyr, as film art, which made me understand the material Robbins was trying to handle.

I've seen the ballet and admired it but just been at a loss -- after seeing the movie, a WHOLE lot more than just Dybbuk falls into place -- Fiddler on the Roof seems like an attempt to make sure that this time it will be unmisunderstandable, even though it's at the heart of it a much slighter thing.

EDITING TO SAY -- well, after re-reading Jowett's excellent biography, I realize Robbins made Fiddler before Dybbuk. And lots about it remains murky -- but the pas de deux became trackable, especially the 'mirroring' section, gained a lot of resonance for me.

Reel has got Dybbuk, so has Netflix. Not much time left, sorry, but it might be worth it.

Edited by Paul Parish

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