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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Music > Judaism > Holocaust > The Last Klezmer (1994/New Yorker Films DVD)

The Last Klezmer (1994/New Yorker Films DVD)


Picture: C     Sound: C+     Extras: C+     Documentary: B



The Nazi’s annihilation of old Poland and its people is an atrocity that the lost arts from the period of lost times and lost lives that after over half a century are still being explored, rediscovered and considered.  Before the invasion, Klezmer music was very popular and needless to say, banned by The Nazis.  Considered a type of “Jewish soul music”, Leopold Kozlowski (age 69 when this was made) was the last survivor of the classical Klezmer movement and Yale Strom’s The Last Klezmer (1994) tells us of his story and the era he became the soul survivor of.


The documentary offers solid history, rarely scene stills, film footage, new interviews and music that still remains too unheard of for our own good, as the makers do a character study of the people and the art they left behind, as well as how it ultimately (and in some ways barely) survived The Holocaust.  Kozlowski’s work and talent are a triumph over those horrors and as so many of these programs remind us, a wonderful world lost to Fascism and hate.  Almost 15 years old, the program holds up very well, others learned the music later, but in a different way and he even was a consultant to Steven Spielberg on Schindler’s List.  The program pulls no punches and never goes light on what happened, but Kozlowski gets the last word over evil and that is a triumph we can all appreciate.


The 1.33 X 1 image is soft as it was shot on what was then-good analog video, though it is still well edited and the new interviews are a plus.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 is on the stereo side, though some audio sounds monophonic and location audio can have a few minor glitches.  The only extra is deleted scenes, but every minute of them are worth your time.  Just watch the main program first.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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