Making Fragmentation Familiar: Barry Levinson's Avalon

Peter Y. Medding

in Studies in Contemporary Jewry: Volume XIV: Coping with Life and Death: Jewish Families in the Twentieth Century

Published in print May 1999 | ISBN: 9780195128208
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854592 | DOI:

Series: Studies in Contemporary Jewry

Making Fragmentation Familiar: Barry Levinson's Avalon

Show Summary Details


The travail of the Jewish family has rarely been explored in a serious fashion in American film; in recording how succeeding generations felt the pressures of modernity, few movies have been animated either by ethnographic interest or by attentive artistry. That indifference is what makes Barry Levinson's Avalon (1990) so striking — and so worthy of critical and scholarly consideration. No other work is quite so deliberate, indeed self-conscious, in its effort to narrate a representative history, to provide a paradigmatic treatment of the fate of the Jewish family in the United States. This twenty-two million dollar home movie devotes itself with such single-minded concentration to the dynamics of Jewish family life that the treatment of its theme is without Hollywood precedent. Avalon is in a category of its own.

Keywords: Avalon; Jewish family; motion pictures; American film

Chapter.  9164 words. 

Subjects: History of Religion

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.