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Understanding Jewish Humor and Its Role in Popular Jewish Films From Argentina

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It is very difficult to construct an explicit definition of Jewish humor and, thus, even harder to identify examples of the use of this type of humor. In this paper, I use a literature review to set forth a list

It is very difficult to construct an explicit definition of Jewish humor and, thus, even harder to identify examples of the use of this type of humor. In this paper, I use a literature review to set forth a list of characteristics of Jewish humor to aid in its identification and I explain the common reasons for the use of this humor. I use the characteristics of Jewish humor to aid in my identification of Jewish humor in five popular Jewish films from Argentina. I examine what aspects I believe to be exemplifying this type of humor and what this type of humor adds to the films in question. The films that I have chosen to analyze are: El abrazo partido directed by Daniel Burman, Cara de queso—mi primer gueto directed by Ariel Winograd, Relatos salvajes directed by Damián Szifron, Sol de otoño directed by Eduardo Mignogna, and Anita directed by Marcos Carnevale. Judaism is central to the plots of these five films and three of the directors (Burman, Winograd, and Szifron) are Jewish themselves. I show how the directors’ experiences with the Argentinian-Jewish community inform their use of Jewish humor. Lastly, I demonstrate how these examples of Jewish humor help to bring Judaism into Argentinian popular culture and, by doing so, allow Jewish stories and history to be told on a large scale.

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Date Created
2018-05