The fact that these immigrants, most of whom barely spoke English, decided in the 1930s to racially integrate their cooperative, captured her imagination. The film took years to complete, and by the time At Home in Utopia was done, the present had caught up with the past; America was in the midst of its own economic melt down, and we had elected our first African-American president. Michal herself began to learn the craft of documentary filmmaking in the 1960s as an apprentice editor to the Maysles brothers, and then as an assistant to Ed Pincus and David Newman, who were editing Black Natchez, a documentary about Civil Rights organizing in Natchez Mississippi. She spent a long time working on other people's films - including The Exorcist, Caged Heat, and Death Race 2000 - before starting to produce her own work. In addition to At Home in Utopia , her films are A Jumpin' Night in the Garden of Eden, - the first film to document the klezmer revival - Umm Kullthum, A Voice like Egypt - about music and anti-colonialism in the Middle East - and Epiphany in Progress, documenting the first year of a new faith-based inner city school. Michal Goldman is available to present and discuss her work.
Films by Michal Goldman
For nearly a thousand years, klezmer music had been part of the celebration of Jewish life in Eastern Europe. Immigrants brought it to America, where it intersected with the Yiddish theatre and jazz. Yet klezmer was virtually extinct by the 1970s when some young musicians went looking for their cultural origins in the vast American musical landscape. Tracking two groups of brilliant young musicians, Kapelye and the Klezmer Conservatory Band, and containing rare footage of the elder immigrant musicians they learned from, "A Jumpin’ Night in the Garden of Eden" is the first film to document the klezmer revival. Originally released in 1987 and re-released in 2021, it tells the story of 2nd and 3rd generation immigrants restoring their cultural legacy: a very American story.
SPECIAL NOTE: Use DVD2020 at checkout to receive 25% off all New Day DVDs December 1st - December 31st, 2020. (This will not apply to streaming.)
They wanted to change the American dream. At Home in Utopia is the story of three decades, two generations, and one cooperative apartment house built in the 1920s by immigrants, factory workers and Communists.