“Immigrant Mothers Rebellious Sons — The Jewish Image in American Cinema” is the title of a talk by Janis Plotkin on Sunday at Congregation Bet Haverim. She will present a film clip and speak from 2 to 4 p.m. in the temple social hall, 1715 Anderson Road.
It was the creative energy of new immigrants arriving in the early part of the 20th century that built American cinema, a news release said. These pioneers had a dual challenge of becoming fully American while embracing specific ethnic identity. Employing humor, melodrama and coming-of-age stories, these films reveal an evolving landscape of American Jewish identity.
Plotkin’s presentation includes film clips of early cinema classics from the Marx Brothers to Woody Allen and more recent movies.
She programmed and produced the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, a pioneering cultural event, from 1982 through 2002.
She received a double master’s degree in social work and Jewish community studies from the University of Southern California and the Hebrew Union College and an honorary doctorate from the Hebrew Union College. She is employed at the Mill Valley Film Festival as senior film programmer for world cinema.
She has taught Jewish-subject cinema at Stanford University, San Francisco State University and UC Davis.