Fiddler’s Journey to the Big Screen Movie Review

Fiddler on the Roof is one of those movies that we all know. Even if we have never seen the film or the various stage adaptations, the songs and the story are iconic in their own right.

The new documentary film, Fiddler’s Journey to the Big Screen was recently released in theaters. It tells the story of how the original 1960s stage show became a big-screen sensation a decade later. Based on the stories by Sholem Aleichem, the audience follows Tevye (Topol), a Jewish dairyman living in poverty who is trying to provide for his wife and five daughters in the fiction shtetl of Anatevka in the early 20th century. His three eldest daughters, Tzeitel (Rosalind Harris), Hodel (Michele Marsh), and Chava (Neva Small) are all of marriageable age and test the social boundaries of the period.

In addition to interviews with the actors, the audience also is taken behind the scenes by director Norman Jewison (who despite his surname is not a member of the tribe) and musical director John Williams. Narrated by Jeff Goldblum, this is a love letter to a beloved narrative and characters who transcend time, culture, and religion.

I loved this movie. It was everything I could have wanted and more. The making of the original film was a labor of love for all involved. Told with authenticity, heart, and nothing but love, this documentary is nothing short of perfection.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely. I would even go as far as to say that this is one of my favorite movies of the year so far.

Fiddler’s Journey to the Big Screen is currently playing in theaters.

Fiddler On The Roof Broadway GIF by GREAT PERFORMANCES | PBS - Find & Share on GIPHY

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Fiddler On The Roof Character Review: Fyedka

This will be my last character review post for Fiddler On The Roof. The next story/group of characters I will be writing about is……I’m not telling you. You will just have to come back to this blog and find out.  

*Warning: This post contains spoilers in regards to the narrative and characters from the musical Fiddler On The Roof. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the movie or any of the stage adaptations.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Fiddler On The Roof to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Prejudice is unfortunately part and parcel of our daily lives. But even with the hatred and prejudice, there are still some that see the person, not the label based on culture or religion. In Fiddler On The Roof, most of the major characters are Jewish. There are a handful of non-Jewish characters, but for the most part, they are background players.

Except for Fyedka.

Fyedka is a young man of the Christian faith who falls in love with Chava, Tevye and Golde’s middle daughter. She is equally in love with him. But a marriage between a Jew and Christian, especially in pre-revolutionary Russia was a big no-no. Unlike his compatriots, Fyedka does not harass his Jewish neighbors. He is open-minded and treats them with courtesy and respect.

To sum it up: Sometimes a writer has to break the mold when creating a character. Fyedka could have been a stereotype, a Russian Christian peasant who hates his Jewish neighbors because they are Jews. But because he is compassionate, respectful and open-minded, he is proof that tolerance, understanding and dialogue between people of different cultures and religions is possible. The reader and the writer just has to be willing to take the first step.

Fiddler On The Roof Character Review: Chava

*Warning: This post contains spoilers in regards to the narrative and characters from the musical Fiddler On The Roof. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the movie or any of the stage adaptations.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Fiddler On The Roof to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

These days, it’s not uncommon to date or marry outside of one’s culture or religion. But we don’t have to travel back too far in history to a time when the worst thing a person could do was choose a spouse who was not part of their religion or culture. In Fiddler On The Roof, Chava is the third of Tevye and Golde’s five daughters. While her older sisters take baby steps when it comes to choosing their spouses, Chava takes a giant leap above her sisters. Not only does she marry a Christian boy, Fyedka, without her parent’s knowledge or approval, but also converts away from Judaism in the process.

Her father reacts as one would expect him to react. He pushes her away while she pleads for his blessing. In the end, Chava receives her father’s blessing for her marriage, if only reluctantly.

To sum it up: Some characters take baby steps toward who they will be. Others take giant steps toward that future persona. Neither is right or wrong, it is determined by the narrative and character arc. What the writer has to do is make sure that the arc for that particular character is organic and natural. If the character’s journey feels forced and inorganic, the reader/audience will know it. The last thing any writer wants is for their narrative and characters to feel forced and inorganic, it is a surefire way to push away the audience or reader. That is the last thing any writer wants.

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