Black and white film documenting a rapidly fading Jewish community in rural Romania. The film is treated like a diary piece with the photographer recounting his experiences living in the village in voiceover while we see images of daily life and of the elderly people who make up the town.
00:00Copy video clip URL This tape begins with a countdown and slate.
00:15Copy video clip URL Image Union opening.
01:08Copy video clip URL Cut to the opening credits of “Song of Radauti.” We watch still shots of the townspeople in rural Romania as melancholy strings float in the mix, establishing a very funereal mood.
01:44Copy video clip URL The narrator begins to speak about his reasons for traveling to Romania and documenting the fading Jewish community in the country. From a distance, we see a number of horse carriages traveling down a dirt road. We watch as townspeople walk along the roads heading into town.
03:41Copy video clip URL We see photos and footage from a Jewish religious service. We watch as Rabbi Jozef Teirnower conducts the service. Adorned in Jewish religious vestments, the men sit and pray with one another. The narrator gives a bit of background information on Rabbi Teirnower, specifically about his family, how he came to be a Rabbi, and what he means to the community. Teirnower’s family was killed by the Nazis in WWII. The narrator also explains that he came to know many of the men involved in the service.
06:15Copy video clip URL We watch as a slew of townspeople gather at a local market. Peasants from the countryside have come to sell some of the intricately woven shirts and crafts. Fresh eggs, cheese, and chickens were sold at the market as well. The narrator explains that Rabbi Teirnower also served as the ritual butcher for the town. We watch as Teirnower and a group of women prepare chickens for a meal.
08:40Copy video clip URL Fade into various shots from a local cemetery. We then move on to see footage from inside of the home of Mr. Towe, one of the other men invovled in the service. Towe’s wife rolls dough for a sabbath bread as he gets a shave.
11:10Copy video clip URL The narrator showcases the Jewish baths in the area. We see pictures and hear audio from within the crowded bath.
12:16Copy video clip URL Fade into a shot of a woman lighting sabbath candles and preparing for the night with prayer.
12:56Copy video clip URL Fade into a shot of the town from the narrator’s hotel window. We watch the townsfolk during their daily practices. The narrator talks about the perils of the townspeople during WWII. We watch as Mr. Moses Lehrer enters into a Jewish service. We watch as pictures from the service slowly creep across the screen. Men with worn faces adorned in religious cloaks are seen praying with one another.
16:17Copy video clip URL As more upbeat Jewish music plays in the background, we watch as Mr Lehrer takes care of the upkeep of a prayer house. Lehrer replaces a broken window. We then watch as some of the men practice their fur making. We also watch as a woman makes hats to sell to the townspeople.
20:47Copy video clip URL As a number of birds frantically chirp in the background, we watch as the camera operator slowly creeps through a cemetery. This leads into footage from a last rights ceremony of on of the townspeople. We watch as the ritual washer baths Mr. Cowan’s body. Both the washer, a man by the name of Mr. Levi, and Cowan’s wife prepare the body for burial.
23:47Copy video clip URL We watch as Cowan is carried to his burial ground. This is the followed by footage from a Jewish service. It is a sincere look into the lives of the townspeople captured in their element. The narrator gives some very eloquent concluding thoughts on the community. “The Jewish community of Radauti is like a old tapestry. It is thread bare and the designs have faded. As the old die and the young leave, the interlocking threads come loose.” This is then followed by the credits.
28:55Copy video clip URL Tape ends.