July 13, 2015
Assembling at Montreal’s holy temple of poutine (fries, cheese and gravy), La Banquise, on the Jewish calendar’s holiest day of the year, Yom Kippur, Chaimie and Leizer argue about the meaning of the ritual of fasting while ritually eating. They are best friends and debating adversaries who tackle life, love and lactose intolerance in this foodie-centric web series done entirely in their grandparents’ Yiddish.
YidLife Crisis: Breaking the Fast will screen before The Muses of Isaac Bashevis Singer at SFJFF35, an enlightening and complex documentary about one of the greatest figures in the Yiddish literary movement, and the women who inspired him.
JFI Presents a Q&A with YidLife Crisis creators Eli Batalion and Jamie Elman
What inspired you to make this film?
Our joint love of classic American comedy and the Yiddish influence we felt was inherent in it.
What was your greatest challenge during the filmmaking process?
Nailing the Yiddish! While we’ve been exposed to Yiddish at various points in our lives, let’s just say that we don’t speak it on a regular basis nowadays…
Any thoughts you’d like to share about screening this film in a Jewish context?
Our show is about our so-called ‘YidLife Crisis’, which is basically how to address our Jewish identities as people that live fully in the secular world, while at the same time recognizing all sorts of legacies in us that are part of our Jewish heritage. We hope through the comedy, people will resonate with the complexities and machinations of Jewishness in the modern age.
What film/media has inspired you lately?
We’re inspired by a few Jew-ish projects — Transparent [the popular Amazon series from Jill Soloway], though not explicitly Jewish, has a lot of Jewish elements that we think surreptitiously tell us a lot about the modern Jewish family unit. We’re ever-inspired by the timeless comedy and thought-provoking genius of the likes of Jon Stewart, Louis CK, Larry David, Sarah Silverman, Woody Allen…
What do you do when you’re not filmmaking?
Lastly, gefilte fish: delicious, or disgusting?
We would have to categorically say: both