Laughter Through Tears
Skvoz Slezy

aka Through Tears
USSR, 1928, 92 minutes, B&W
Silent with new English intertitles
Directed by Grigori Gritcher-Cherikover

Buy Now

Public Exhibition Formats: 35mm, 16mm, Beta


Like Sholem Aleichem, on whose Motl Peysi: The Cantor's Son and The Enchanted Tailor stories Laughter Through Tears is based, director Gricher-Cherikover leavens pathos with humor in his earthy portrait of prerevolutionary shtetl life. Motl's father dies, leaving him to survive on his own in a changing world while the tailor Shimen-Elye buys a she-goat which mysteriously changes gender each time its new owner stops at the inn between Kozodoyevka, where he purchased the creature, and Zlodyevke, where he lives.

In accord with then-official Soviet policies against antisemitism (which were always as odds with prevailing popular sentiments), Gricher-Cherikover emphasizes the poverty and repression of Jews under Czarist rule. He capitalizes on the skills of the Moscow Art Theater's actors through close attention to facial expression and gesture, and particularly of child actor Moshele Silberman.

Selected Screenings

Mémorial de la Shoah, Paris (2007)
Ashkenaz Festival, Toronto (2006)
New York Jewish Museum (2001)

NCJF Film Restoration

Preservation and restoration was funded by Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Special thanks to Michael P. Schulhof, A. Alan Friedberg, Brandeis University, American Film Institute, Massachusetts Cultural Council, National Endowment for the Arts, and Archivo Nacional de la Imagen Uruguay

1991 Restoration © The National Center for Jewish Film
Executive Director Sharon Pucker Rivo
Associate Director Miriam Saul Krant
Technical Coordinator Richard Pontius
Translator Moshe Waldoks
Consultant Sylvia Fulks Fried
Title Production Loren S. Miller
Title Animation Frame Shop
Laboratory John E. Allen, Inc.


Director Grigori Gritcher-Cherikover
Camera N. Farkash, F. Berigo-Darovski
Art Director I. Shpinel
Scenario Grigori Gritcher-Cherikover & I. Skvirsky
Produced by the All-Ukrainian Photo-Cinema Administration (VUFKU) under the direction of Grigori Gritcher

J.K. Kovenberg

A.D. Goritcheva

M.D. Sen-Elnikova

D.A. Cantor

S.J. Silberman

F.K. Soslovsky

M.L. Liarov

Home Use DVD: $29.95

Does not include Classroom or Library Use Rights or Public Performance Rights. More Information


Classroom/Library Use DVD: $150

Does not include Public Performance Rights. More Information

Digital Site Licensing (DSL) available - Contact us

Step down pricing for K-12 & public libraries may be available - Contact us

Arrange a screening - Contact us

Also based on work by Sholom Alechiem


Jewish Luck

Our Children

Fiddler on the Roof

Back to Top








Join our mailing list!