UPCOMING - Tel-Aviv Cinematheque (July 2013)
Asia Premiere - Hong Kong Jewish Film Festival (2012)
North American Premiere- New York Jewish Film Festival (2012)
Europe Premiere - Amsterdam Jewish Film Festival (2011)
World Premiere- Jerusalem International Film Festival (2011)
Press Release (PDF)
Essay on Breaking Home Ties by Joseph Eckhardt (PDF)
Thinking he has killed his friend Paul in a jealous rage, David Bergmann flees pre-revolutionary Russia for America. In New York he becomes a successful lawyer and woos smart, independent Rose. Meanwhile the wealthy Bergmann parents sell their well-appointed home in St. Petersburg and emigrate to New York.
Unable to locate their son who is hiding from his past, immigrant life takes its toll and the parents fall into poverty. Will David marry Rose? Will the Bergmanns be reunited? And what about Paul, the friend David thought he killed back in Russia?
In the early 1920s American Jews looked to undo the damage of the anti-semitic campaigns of the Ku Klux Klan and Henry Ford. Several feature length films with Jewish themes were produced and released for general audiences during this period, including Hungry Hearts and His People (both films restored by The National Center for Jewish Film), and The Jazz Singer. Breaking Home Ties’s Jewish producers wished to present “the everyday life of the Jew, with emphasis on that human and sympathetic element in his nature too often overlooked.” Breaking Home Ties was the last film shot at the Betzwood Motion Picture Studio in Philadelphia, PA. The film premiered in New York City in November 1922.
Long thought lost, the world’s only existing print of Breaking Home Ties was discovered by Sharon Pucker Rivo of The National Center for Jewish Film in a Berlin archive in 1984. That distribution print with German intertitles had been erroneously produced under a different title. NCJF’s film restoration included 35mm film-to-film restoration, additional digital restoration, and translating (and shooting in 35mm) the intertitles back into English. Only 20% of U.S. feature films from the 1910s & 1920s survive. For independently produced works, the percentage is dramatically lower still. As for silent films with Jewish content, only a tiny handful survive.
Lee Kohlmar (Mr. Bergmann)
Rebecca Weintraub (Mrs. Bergmann)
Richard Farrell (David Bergmann)
Arthur Ashley (Paul Zeidmann)
Betty Howe (Esther), Jane Thomas (Rose Neuman)
Henry B. Schaffer (J.B. Martin)
Maude Hill (Mrs. Martin)
Robert Maxmillian (Moskowitz)
Hong Kong Radio interview with Sharon Pucker Rivo (Nov, 2012)
The Jewish Daily Forward (June, 2011)
Breaking Home Ties
USA, 1922, 78 minutes, B&W
Silent with new English intertitles
Directed by Frank N. Seltzer &
George K. Rowlands
with New English Intertitles by
The National Center for Jewish Film
BOOK NOW FOR PUBLIC EXHIBITION SCREENINGS
Video clip shot at BREAK ING HOME TIES outdoor opening night event screening at the Hong Kong Jewish Film Festival 2012. Live music by Amit Weiner.