Benya Krik*

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Benya Krik*

  • 1926 ----- b & w ----- 93 min ----- vhs
  • (Directed by V. Vilner, written by Isaac Babel) The setting is the seamy Jewish underworld of pre/post-revolutionary Odessa. Based on the life of gangster king, Mishka Yaponchik ("Mike the Jap") Vinnitsky, murder is a way of life for Benya and his gang. They profit from their criminal activites until the Russian Revolution, and the local commissar assigns them "emergency revictualing patrol," making them a "revolutionary" regiment, complete with tattooed red stars. But this new post backfires for Benya as he finds himself ensnared in a Bolshevik trap. ". . . not only presented its swaggering hero as the victim of the Bolshevik regime but risked accusations of anti-Semitism by portraying Jews as criminal profiteers. . . . Opening in Kiev in early 1927, Benya Krik was almost immediately banned by the Ukrainian office for political education." --J. Hoberman, Village Voice [Restored in 1996 by The National Center for Jewish Film, Brandeis University] (Silent with English inter-titles) (Funded, in part, by the Department of Slavic Languages and Literature) (Restricted to use by institutions of Higher Education in Washington state only)
  • Topics: (History: Russian, East European and Central Asian, Jewish Studies, Motion Pictures: Features, Motion Pictures: History, Political Science: Russian, East European and Central Asian, Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies, Slavic Languages and Literature)