Berlin Lesbian Film Festival, 2002
Brooklyn Jewish Film Festival, 2002
Detroit Jewish Film Festival, 2002
Vancouver Jewish Film Festival, 2002
San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, 2002
Laemmle Theater, Los Angeles, 2002
Washington DC Jewish Film Festival, 2002
Palm Springs International Film Festival, 2003
Kansas City Jewish Film Festival, 2003
Hartford Jewish Film Festival, 2003
Houston Jewish Film Festival, 2003
Northern Virginia Jewish Film Festival, 2003
Montreal Jewish Film Festival, 2003
Miami Jewish Film Festival, 2003
Tucson Jewish Film Festival, 2004
L’Chaim Jewish Film Festival (Northampton, MA), 2004
Pacific Jewish Film Festival, 2005
Cape Ann Jewish Film Festival, 2011
Paramount Theater at Emerson College (Boston, MA), 2011

Women’s Studies Research Center Film Series/ Brandeis University, 2016
Jewish Culture Days in Olomouc, 2016


WYBE TV, Philadelphia
Shalom TV, 2010

“The Jewish mothers that I know and love are sexy, smart, and strong, but I have never seen this mother in Hollywood movies, and I set out to find out why.” - Filmmaker Monique Schwarz

Jewish mothers are the most easily maligned image of Jewish women found in movies and television today. You know who they are: the caricature of the overbearing, emasculating, long suffering mother ever-ready with mountains of food. Australian director Monique Schwarz takes a funny, penetrating look at how the loving and affectionate portrayals in early Yiddish and Hollywood silent movies developed into the Jewish Mother of modern Hollywood and, conversely, the more flesh and blood characterizations in contemporary Israeli cinema.

With characteristic Jewish humor, iconic filmmakers Paul Mazursky, Paul Bogart and Larry Peerce and actress Lainie Kazan reflect with disarming candor on their own Jewish mothers and how they influenced their on-screen portrayals. Critics J. Hoberman, Patricia Erens, Michael Medved and Sharon Rivo discuss the changing image of the Jewish mother on screen and Israeli directors Avram Hefner and Zepel Yeshurun and actress Gila Almagor illustrate the uniqueness of Israeli filmic images.

Mamadrama features hilarious film clips from Come Blow Your Horn, Goodbye Columbus, Next Stop Greenwich Village, The Jazz Singer, Portnoy's Complaint, Where's Poppa, Torch Song Trilogy, rare Yiddish films and recent Israeli features. Interspersed throughout is the story of Schwarz’s own mother, Berta, from her life in Vienna before World War II to her struggles as an immigrant in post-war Australia, a picture of a woman vastly different from the Jewish mothers seen in contemporary films.

"The common stereotype of the Jewish Mother is a woman who is loud, obnoxious, domineering, not particularly attractive (though she wants to insist she once was) and emasculating.”
- Michael Medved, Film Critic. From Mamadrama.

“The Jewish moguls had difficulty with their own Jewishness. As they became successful, the urge to assimilate fully was even stronger, So many of them found they would rather have a gentile wife than the Jewish wife they had first married.”
Patricia Erens, Film Historian. From Mamadrama.

NCJF Restored Yiddish Films featured in Mamadrama:
Mirele Efros
A Letter to Mother
Where is My Child?
His People
Hungry Hearts
Mothers of Today

Home Use DVD:

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

Classroom/Library Use DVD: $195

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

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Forgotten Children

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Mamadrama: The Jewish Mother in Cinema

Australia, 2001, 73 minutes, color
Written & Directed by Monique Schwarz

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Public Exhibition formats: 16mm, Beta, DVD. (Also, Beta of 52 min version)





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