Yosl Cutler and His Puppets
Kotlers Marionetn

USA, 1935, 18 minutes, b&w
Yiddish with new English subtitles
Produced by Joseph Burstyn

with new English Subtitles by
The National Center for Jewish Film

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Public Exhibition Formats: 16mm


This film is a performance of one of Yosl Cutler's solo puppet shows. A multi-talented artist, writer, poet, and Yiddish Art Theater designer, Cutler is probably best known as the cartoonist for the Jewish communist newspaper, The Freiheit. These fanciful and slightly surreal sketches preserve his work with the marionettes he designed, built and brought to life. Puppet personalities in the film include an old Jewish couple, a caricatured Rabbi and a couple of "peppery little Jews" performing traditional Jewish and Jazz dance.

A charismatic artist and poet, Cutler was born in a Volhynian shtetl and immigrated to the Lower East Side of New York at age 15. Together with Zuni Maud, he designed sets and costumes for the Yiddish Art Theater and presented puppet plays ranging from Purimshpiln to political satire. The film was made before Cutler left New York for California where he hoped to make a puppet version of S. Ansky's The Dybbuk. Unfortunately he was killed in a highway collision while passing through Indiana.

Selected Screenings

Cinebeasts/Anthology Film Archive, New York (2012)
New York Jewish Film Festival (2009)
Toronto Jewish Film Festival (2008)
Pacific Film Archive (1995)

NCJF Film Restoration

Preservation and restoration by The Cutler Family in honor of Mrs. Rose Helfand, sister of Yosl Culter.

1990 Restoration © The National Center for Jewish Film

Home Use DVD: $19.95

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


Classroom/Library Use DVD: $50

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

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