The lower east side tenement museum




Thursday, April 4- Sunday, April 7, 2002

55 East 3rd Street at Avenue A

Screenings begin at 8 PM

Admission: $8.50 for adults, $6 for students and seniors and $5 for Museum Members

For reservations and information, call (212)431-0233, x216 or visit

In celebration of the opening of the Levine Garment Shop, its newly restored apartment set in 1897, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum is proud to present its first Immigration Film Series, being screened at the Pioneer Theater in the East Village. Conceived and organized by Rebecca Amato, the Immigration Film Series is a diverse and engaging film program focusing on immigrant labor issues spanning decades, lifestyles and cultures. The series’ seven films provocatively examine the impediments of discrimination, displacement and maltreatment, which aggrieve immigrants on a national scale.

Thursday, April 4 at 8:00 PM

The #7 Train: An Immigrant Journey (Video, 29 minutes; Directors, Hye Jung Park and JT Takagi, 1999)

Motl the Operator (35 mm., 88 minutes; Director, Joseph Seiden, 1939)

Friday, April 5 at 8:00 PM

Nightsongs (16 mm., 116 minutes; Director, Marva Nabili)

Saturday, April 6 at 8:00 PM

Performing the Border (Video, 42 minutes; Directed by Ursula Biemann, 1999)

Taxi-vala/Auto-biography (Video, 49 minutes; Directed by Vivek Renjen Bald, 1996)

Sunday Matinee, April 7 at 4:15 PM

Motl the Operator (35 mm., 88 minutes; Director, Joseph Seiden, 1939)

Sunday, April 7 at 8:00 PM

The Great Pinoy Boxing Era (Video, 30 minutes; Directed by Corky Pasquil and Agrafino Edralin, 1994)

Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania (16 mm., 90 minutes; Directed by Jonas Mekas, 1978)

The series opens Thursday, April 4 with the short 1999 film, The #7 Train: An Immigrant Journey and the premiere of the newly restored 1939 Joseph Seiden Yiddish feature, Motl the Operator. The #7 Train examines the lives of 4 different immigrant passengers and reflects the kaleidoscopic neighborhoods traversed by the well-known subway line. Motl the Operator (in Yiddish with English subtitles) features renowned American Yiddish theatre actors and focuses on a labor dispute in New York City’s garment district. Motl survives as a profound historical document of the Jewish immigrant experience on the Lower East Side. We are proud to collaborate with the National Center for Jewish Film at Brandeis University in the restoration of this significant film and its inclusion in the festival.

Friday, April 5: Nightsongs, a 1984 film written and directed by the expatriate Iranian filmmaker, Marva Nabili. Nightsongs tells the story of a Chinese immigrant family through the eyes of their Chinese-Vietnamese cousin, an outsider among outsiders. She takes refuge with her Chinese relatives, finding work through them in garment sweatshops. At home at night, she writes longingly and lovingly in her journal about her husband and sons she left behind in a Southeast Asian refugee camp.

Saturday, April 6: Performing the Border, (1999) directed by Ursula Biemann, is a video essay set in the Mexican border town of Cuidad Juarez, where just across the U.S. border from El Paso, Texas, multi-national corporations assemble electronic and digital equipment. This imaginative and experimental work investigates the growing feminization of the global economy and its impact on Mexican women living and working in the area. Taxi-Vala//Auto-biography, (1994) directed by Vivek Renjen Bald, explores the immigration experiences of Indian and Pakistani taxi drivers in New York City. Issues of limited professional opportunities, educational backgrounds, family and class are addressed and highlighted by the filmmaker’s own middle-class, university-educated and multi-ethnic (Pakistani/Australian) background.

Sunday Matinee at 4:15, April 7: Motl the Operator

Sunday Evening, April 7: The Great Pinoy Boxing Era, (1994) directed by Corky Pasquil and Agrafino Edralin. This 30-minute documentary reveals the largely unknown story of the contributions made to boxing technique in the 1920’s and 1930’s by Filipino immigrants and explores how the heroic efforts of these athletes united the Filipino-American community. Reminiscences of a Trip to Lithuania, directed by Jonas Mekas (1972) In this personal film diary by Jonas Mekas, avant-garde filmmaker and founder of Anthology Film Archives, the filmmaker returns home after 25 years to the Lithuanian village of his youth. Mekas speaks not only of the joy of reconnection with his home but also the sense of eternal "displacement" in Lithuania and his adopted home, New York City.


Motl the Operator was restored by the National Center for Jewish Film (NCJF) at Brandeis University. NCJF is a non-profit archive and resource center established in 1976 to preserve and restore the cinematographic record of the Jewish experience. The NCJF’s Rutenberg and Everett Yiddish Film Library has restored 32 Yiddish language films including Tevye, The Dybbuk, The Light Ahead, Overture to Glory and Yidl with His Fiddle. This restoration was made possible with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Zuckerman Family Foundation of Toronto, the Roy and Niuta Titus Foundation of New York City and the Eastman Kodak Company.

The Lower East Side Tenement Museum’s programs are developed in keeping with its mission: "To promote tolerance and historical perspective through the presentation and interpretation of the variety of immigrant and migrant experiences on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, a gateway to America." The heart of the Museum is its landmark tenement building, home to 7000 immigrants from over 20 nations from 1863 to 1935. A founding member of the International Coalition of Historic Site Museums of Conscience, the Tenement Museum is committed to using the history of its site to address contemporary issues and promote democratic principles. Please call (212) 431-0233 for a complete list of programs or visit our website at