April 14, 2024
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April 14, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Presenting Your TMC Co-Host: Dr. Eric Goldman

Teaneck–Go and make some popcorn. It’s movie time. Throughout the month of September, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is running a series entitled The Projected Image: The Jewish Experience on Film. The films will kick off at 8:00 on each Tuesday night of the month long showcase. The showcase is hosted by TCM’s Robert Osborne and Teaneck resident Dr. Eric Goldman.

Dr. Goldman was a natural choice. His passion for films was first sown during his childhood on Sunday afternoons at the double feature matinee. While attending college at Temple University in Philadelphia with the intentions of becoming a medical doctor, Goldman found himself in a course entitled History of the Middle East. In addition to studying traditionally through texts, the class also was shown movies. The class was studying the Algerian War and watched a movie on the topic. Dr. Goldman said he learned a lesson. “The power of cinema was opened up. The film gave me a visual understanding of history. I realized that film was not just entertainment but edutainment.”

At that point, Dr. Goldman knew he wanted to pull together his two loves–film and Jewish education. He became a radio television film major. After completing his undergraduate degree, Dr. Goldman went on to Brandeis and earned two masters: one in Contemporary Jewish Studies and one in Theatre Arts. He received his doctorate in Film Studies at NYU in Cinema Studies. His dissertation was on Yiddish cinema.

The world of Yiddish Cinema was opened up to him while visiting a friend in Boston. Upon his friend’s suggestion, the two went to see the film Dybbuk. “I was knocked over by the film,” he says. He went to the library to look up Yiddish films and found next to nothing on the topic.

In addition to writing books on the Jewish experience in film, Dr. Goldman has served in a number of places throughout his career. These roles include curator of film for the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research and director of the Jewish Media Service. In addition, Dr. Goldman Founded and is president of Ergo Media Inc. (www.ergomedia.com), a film distribution company that focuses on distributing Jewish films. Dr. Goldman’s goal for Ergo is to, “get more access for certain films which I felt were not properly available.”

At his core, Dr. Goldman is a teacher. He says, “I’ve set my life’s goal to teach, and I’ve pledged my life pushing forth the notion that cinema is a wonderful medium for learning.” Currently, Dr. Goldman teaches cinema at Stern College and Fairleigh Dickinson University. When teaching, Dr. Goldman instructs his students to simply sit back and enjoy the movie on its first viewing. After watching the film in its entirety, the class will go back and look at elements that filmmaker employed such as the way a scene is shot and sequences and try to analyze together. The class will discuss how the film impacted them/made them feel and the time period of when it was made.

The opportunity to teach was one reason why Dr. Goldman readily accepted producer Gary Friedman’s offer to be a guest curator for the TCM showcase. Dr. Goldman has served a number of roles when it comes to the showcase starting with joining Friedman to, “thrash out ideas and considered which films that would be appropriate.”

Each week was given its own theme. Selected themes include The Evolving Jew, The Holocaust, Israeli Classics, Tackling Prejudice, and Coming-of-Age. Dr. Goldman said choosing themes was challenging due to the limited number of nights. Ultimately, themes were chose that have a “strong American underpinning in order to reach the largest audience.” One of the goals of the series for Dr. Goldman is to provide people with a broader understanding of Jewish life, in particular the films can illustrate the contribution of Jews to America.

While excited for each of the nights, Dr. Goldman confesses to particularly looking forward to the Israeli Classics night. The doctor has a soft spot for Israeli cinema and is currently at work on a book about the topic. “The majority of Israeli filmmakers use film to tackle complex issues regarding Israel and can even be critical of it,” he says. In addition, “The quality of Israeli film making is outstanding and can match up with other national cinema. They are regularly showcased at major film festivals and win awards.”

As the expert and guest co-host, Dr. Goldman along with TCM’s Osborne, will introduce the film. Dr. Goldman will make comments about the film, but don’t worry about him giving away too much of the plot as he believes this “takes away from the viewing experience.” After the screening of each film, Dr. Goldman will deliver commentary.

Now, turn off your cell phone, pass the popcorn, and enjoy the movie.

To learn more about Goldman, visit http://www.eric-goldman.com/

To view the complete schedule of films, visit: http://www.tcm.com/projectedimage/index.html

Larry Bernstein is a freelance writer, blogger, and tutor. He and his family live in Bergen County. You can find his website at larrydbernstein.com. His blog address is memyselfandkids.com.

By Larry Bernstein

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