Chapter

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195128208.003.0003

Series: Studies in Contemporary Jewry

Making Fragmentation Familiar: Barry Levinson's Avalon

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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

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