Thursday, July 22, 2010

A great ghost story, in Yiddish

Darn shame this video can't be embedded. It is the opening of the Coens' A Serious Man, and the very best bit of yiddish theater I've ever seen, a real shtetl ghost story. It features Velvel his wife Dora and, well, I shan't spoil it. Yiddish speakers, please let us know what you think of the language. Is it accurate? Does the dialog mix up dialects?Are the idioms right, specifically the delightful use of "Gut shabos, gut yomtuf!" @5:08?

I saw two anachronisms: (1) The glare of frustrated, superior, disbelief Dora gives Velvel @2:20, and (2) the hearty, "And this is Dora!" a visitor bellows jovially upon entering @3:16. I can't speak for the language, but both Dora's expression, and the guest's accent seemed briefly out of place.

What does everyone else think?

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