The Adventures of Saul Bellow
Join us for a sneak preview screening of The Adventures of Saul Bellow followed by a panel discussion with the film’s director ASAF GALAY and Yiddish Book Center academic director JOSH LAMBERT. This is the first-ever documentary film on the man described by the critic James Wood as the “greatest of American prose stylists in the 20th century.” Marking the centennial of his birth and the tenth anniversary of his death, the film features original interviews, previously restricted footage and takes the viewer to the locations that shaped Bellow and his fiction.
Presented in conjunction with the AWM’s special exhibit My America: Immigrant and Refugee Writers Today, this program is part of the Jeanne M. & John W. Rowe program series, a series of conversations with leading contemporary writers about their latest work and their thoughts on themes of identity, home, belonging and the meaning of what it is to be American.
This screening is part of the Yiddish Book Center’s Decade of Discovery, a new initiative designed to foster a deeper understanding of Yiddish and modern Jewish culture. Beginning with the Center’s 40th anniversary in 2020, and continuing for each of the next ten years, the Center will select an annual theme around which it will hold special events, courses, conferences, exhibits, performances and other programs, often in partnership with other organizations. In doing so, the Center will create new relationships with individuals and institutions to expand and strengthen engagement with Yiddish and modern Jewish culture – creating spaces for collaboration, testing of ideas, and the discovery of new perspectives. The Decade of Discovery is made possible in part through the generous support of the Leona and Ralph W. Kern Foundation.
ASAF GALAY is an acclaimed international film director, with a passion for stories on Jewish subjects that illuminate the human condition. His most recent documentaries include “Army of Lovers in the Holy Land” (2018) and “The Adventures of Saul Bellow” (for 2020 broadcast). His –film “The Hebrew Superhero” (2015) was described by Tablet magazine as “supremely entertaining,” on the subject of comics in Israel. ”The Muses of Bashevis Singer” (2014) opened the New York Jewish Film Festival, and his feature film on the Israeli poet Nathan Alterman (“Sentimentality Allowed,” 2012), is used in schools throughout Israel. Galay has long wanted to make a film about the Fleischer brothers, whose cartoons he enjoyed as a child. “They cartooned an America that I would like to live in,” he says, “and that I would like to make legible for others.” In addition to his acclaimed film and television career, Galay is museum curator at Beit Hatfutsot, the Museum for the Jewish People located in Tel Aviv. He is head curator of exhibits on Bob Dylan (“Forever Young”), Jewish Humor (“Laughing at History”), Jewish fashion designers (“Dream Weavers”), and Amy Winehouse ( “Amy Winehouse – A Family Portrait”).
JOSH LAMBERT, Yiddish Book Center academic director, is a visiting assistant professor of English at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is the author of “Unclean Lips: Obscenity, Jews, and American Culture,” which won a Canadian Jewish Book Award and the Jordan Schnitzer Award from the Association for Jewish Studies, and “American Jewish Fiction: A JPS Guide.” His reviews and essays have appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Haaretz, the Forward, the Globe and Mail, and many academic journals.