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  • A group of children stand together, some singing and some silent.
  • Two children look at something in the distance; one carries a sack over his shoulder.



Sunday, June 23

*Introduction by Film Critic/Jewish Film Historian J. Hoberman

(1936, Aleksander Ford) Children Must Laugh. This Polish-made documentary offers a window into a little socialist paradise: a rural tuberculosis sanatorium set up by Jewish workers’ organizations for poor city kids, run democratically by the young patients themselves. DCP restoration. Approx. 61 min.


“Although Mir Kumen On was kept from Polish movie houses, there were evidently a number of clandestine or private screenings. The film also circulated abroad with theatrical showings in both Paris and Brussels. In the spring of 1938, Medem Sanatorium’s cofounder and director Shlomo Galinsky brought Mir Kumen On to the United States, where, with the English title The Children Must Laugh, it had its New York premiere under the auspices of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union and Socialist councilman Barney Vladek. It ran for a week at the midtown Continental Theater (where the Polish-Yiddish feature Der Dibek (The Dybbuk) had just completed a two-month engagement), on a bill with the WPA short, Work Pays America.”
– J. Hoberman, Bridge of Light: Yiddish Film Between Two Worlds

Mir Kumen On is not only the art of the film industry, it is much more: it is the art of life, of sincerity, human relationships. The images shatter us, evoke the deepest sorrow… Such a film speaks directly to the heart, to the emotions. It says more than a hundred speeches, articles, and books. It is an agitka, but artistic, a higher order which opens our eyes and pierces our senses… pulsating, clamorous, genuine: This is how one lives in the cellars for years and this is how one catches his breath at the Medem Sanatorium.”
– Michal Kitai, Literarishe Bleter (1936)

“Precious and haunting.”
– Times of Israel

Film Forum