This spring, three Chicago film institutions join forces to present the 12-part film series, L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema, an essential retrospective of one of the most important movements in the history of American independent cinema.
Acclaimed composer Alicia Svigals and exhilarating Canadian pianist Marilyn Lerner will accompany a rare screening of The Yellow Ticket (1918) on October 26, as FSC’s event series begins again this fall at the Logan Center for the Arts.
Svigals, who has composed for violinist Itzhak Perlman and the Kronos Quartet and helped found the Grammy-winning Klezmatics, has crafted a lush score inspired by klezmer and other Eastern European folk forms, classical composers such as Béla Bartók and Ernest Bloch, European café music, and contemporary improvisation. She will be joined by Lerner, whose work spans the worlds of jazz, improvisation, klezmer and 20th century classical music.
Remarkably progressive for its time, The Yellow Ticket is the first film to explore Jewish discrimination in Tsarist Russia and stars famed Polish actress Pola Negri, Hollywood’s first European silent film star. It tells the story of Lea, a young woman who hides her Jewish heritage to study medicine.
Directed by Victor Janson and Eugen Illès and filmed partly on location in German-occupied Warsaw during the last year of World War I, The Yellow Ticket was one of Negri’s first films for Germany’s leading studio UFA and was released in the U.S. by Paramount in 1922. The film is based on Abraham Schomer’s 1911 Yiddish melodrama, Afn Yam un “Ellis Island” (At Sea and Ellis Island) which was subsequently produced on Broadway in 1914 in an un-authorized English-language version written by Michael Morton.