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Be a Mensch! - Billy Wilder as the Wandering Jew & The Apartment

A special evening devoted to the work of Billy Wilder from a Jewish perspective, with an introduction (in English) by Amir Vudka (University of Amsterdam) and a screening of The Apartment.

The apartment poster

“Live now, pay later. Diner's Club! Why don't you grow up, Baxter? Be a Mensch! You know what that means?(Dr. Dreyfuss in The Apartment)

Billy Wilder”s work is often discussed and analyzed, but seldom it is appreciated from a Jewish perspective. The apparent reason is that although he was Jewish, his films do not seem particularly Jewish, as they don”t have any explicit Jewish issues or noticeable Jewish characters. However, in his lecture Amir Vudka will ask us to consider Wilder”s work as Jewish through and through, relating it to a variety of themes associated with the figure of the Wandering Jew.

Dr. Amir Vudka is a lecturer in the Department of Media Studies, University of Amsterdam. He is the film programmer of De Nieuwe Regentes theatre in The Hague, and the artistic director of Sounds of Silence festival for silent film and contemporary music. His PhD thesis was about hybrid Jewish figures in cinema.

Amir Vudka”s introduction is followed by the screening of:

the apartment

A sharp comedy about the social mores of the American business community in the fifties, and a romantic story about two lonely people who connect. The Apartment was nominated for ten Oscars in 1960 and won five.


Part of

Sweet & Sour: The Films of Billy Wilder

The legendary screenwriter and Hollywood director Billy Wilder was a brilliant word artist. His Oscar-winning classics are brimming with irresistible and cynical humour: incredibly funny, bold and incisive.

Learn more
campaign image Sweet & Sour: The Films of Billy Wilder (still from The Seven Year Itch (Billy Wilder, US 1955))