Contrasting Sh. Ansky’s original play (1913-1916) with its later film remake of 1937

Submission date: not later than NOON, November 23, 2018

1. The written assignment should be in the form of a short essay (not more than 4 pages).

2. Please, note that it is far better to write a well formulated, coherently presented, and succinct shorter paper, than fill out numerous pages with loosely connected facts or statements. You must try your best at striking a balance between brief summary, well argued analysis, and appropriate use of concrete examples.

3. Points will be taken off for insufficient editing of the submitted paper (A. misspelling, B. “loose” sentence structure, C. incorrect use of proper and geographical names, and – D. unjustified repetition of information or statements within the same paper, unjustified repetition of information or statements within the same paper, or E. unauthorized use of „secondary‟ sources).

4. The essay must be submitted as an MS Word or PDF Attachment

5. Last but not least: before starting your work on the essay, please consult some general suggestions that are summed up in the PDF document attached to this assignment If despite extensive discussion in class you are still uncertain how to frame your comparison, consider addressing the following issues (in a well-integrated fashion):

1. Discuss at least two major themes of Ansky’s play and contrast them with the major key in which the play’s story is being recast and shown in the film.

2. Contrast the functions and emphases assigned to some of the same main characters in both the play and the film.

3. The film has a number of moments in which the “simple”, “poor”, or “working class” people are contrasted with the rich and “well off” characters. How much of this type of contrasting can be found in the original play?

4. Some claim that while the play is more “ethnographic” (i.e. depicting seemingly premodern people’s traditional beliefs and folk customs) whereas the film is also more “mystical” (e.g. the role of the Messenger in each — the play and the film). Comment on this with concrete examples.

5. I there a real “culprit” or “villain” that knowingly prevents the “predestined” union of Leah and Khonnon in the play and who might it be in the film version?

6. How would you stage Ansky’s play for a contemporary production, or how would you choose to rework it for a new film script?


The film can be watched here (the quality & translations are not perfect)

Sh. Ansky’s original play can be seen here or in the attached files