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The Screening Room
THE LAST KLEZMER:
Leopold Kozlowski, His Life and Music
A Film by Yale Strom

 

Meet the last klezmer to have grown up in the tradition and who is still performing and teaching his art to mostly gentiles in Poland today. Leopold takes a trip back to his hometown of Prezmyslany, Ukraine for the first time since 1945 and shows Yale what life was like for a klezmer before WWII. Along the way we meet a friend of Leopold's and learn how they both survived the war. (available on 16mm & video from New Yorker films 212-247-6110, 1(800)-447-0196.)
 
"One of 1994's top ten films..." Michael Medved - NY Post
Director's Statement:

"
I was drawn to make a film about Leopold Kozlowski after I had seen how well he looked on screen in my first film AT THE CROSSROADS: JEWISH LIFE IN EASTERN EUROPE TODAY. I had known Leopold since my first meeting with him in 1984. Being that he was such a natural story teller, his on screen interviews hardly needed directing. Leopold represents the last "klezmer" who grew up in the Yiddish world of Przemyslanj, Poland before the Holocaust. He came from an illustrious klezmer family that was known throughout Galicia, and when I met him I knew he was the "real" thing. He was not a revivalist like the rest of us. Klezmer music kept him alive during the Holocaust playing for the SS in the labor camp where he was a prisoner, and then keeping his spirits and the rest of his fellow partisans up playing music in the forests. What really makes the film for me is the fact we met one of Leopold's fellow partisans and good friend Shimon. When they met it was the first time in forty-one years, and it was very emotional. Shimon, who was living at the time in L'viv (Lemberg), acted as the emotional tree that Leopold leaned on many times throughout our journey. After the film came out, Leopold became much more known throughout Europe and began giving concerts and workshops throughout the continent. The Last Klezmer is an homage to all those Jewish musicians who perished during the Holocaust."--
Yale Strom



 


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