This animated short brings to life a Yiddish poem, “A Valts” (“The Waltz”) by A. Lutzky. Written in the interwar period, the poem was also sung to children in the Lodz ghetto. Watch as couples dance to a dirge that foretells life’s impermanence.
Director, animator, and illustrator.
D. Zisl Slepovitch
Composer, music director
Zisl Slepovitch Ensemble:
Joshua Camp, accordion
Dmitry Ishenko, contrabass
Craig Judelman, violin
Sasha Lurje, vocals
D. Zisl Slepovitch, basset horn
Sound recorded in January 2020 at Mighty Toad Recording Studios, Brooklyn, New York
Sound engineer: Craig Dreyer.
About the Film
“The Waltz” is based on the poem by A. Lutzky, pen name of the Yiddish poet Aaron Zucker (1894-1957), set to music by D. Zisl Slepovitch and performed by Sasha Lurje and the Zisl Slepovitch Ensemble as part of the Songs from Testimonies project. Lutzky was born in Ukraine and immigrated to New York in the 1910s. In the poem, Lutzky raises themes of lost youth, lost hopes, lost lives, nostalgia for his homeland, and the fragility of life. Employing metaphorical language, the poet expresses themes of death and sorrow.
The poem was sung in the Lodz Ghetto during the Second World War and was recounted in a testimony at the Fortunoff Video Archive.
As an Eastern European, an artist of Jewish descent, and an immigrant in New York, this poem resonated strongly with me. The limited color palette, naive motifs of Eastern European and Jewish everyday life are united by the waltzing rhythm in this poetic film. I decided against the linear narration in favor of a mix of dark phantasmagory and nostalgia.
Yulia Ruditskaya is a Brooklyn-based award-winning director, animator, and illustrator. As a multidisciplinary artist, Yulia’s twenty years of working in animation, design, and film include credits in shorts, feature films and documentaries, and television series. Yulia also directed and animated numerous commercials, music videos, and broadcast design pieces. Originally from Minsk, Belarus, Yulia moved to New York, continuing as a visual storyteller and filmmaker. Yulia has directed several award-winning animated short films. One of her previous films And The Moon Stands Still, screened at over 400 film festivals worldwide and won over a dozen awards. Yulia fulfills her creative passion working with various styles and genres, ranging from tv shows for kids to visualizing complex subject matter, using digital, mixed-media, and hand-crafted techniques. She is a member of Belarusian Designers Union and Women in Animation.
Award: ASIFA-East Annual Animation Awards
The Fortunoff Archive is pleased to announce that "The Waltz" placed third in the Independent Films category at ASIFA-East's 52nd Annual Animation Awards Ceremony. ASIFA is French for the Association Internationale du Film d'Animation. ASIFA-East is the New York chapter, promoting all things animation. Debuting in 1969, the ASIFA-East Animated Film Festival is one of the longest running festivals of its kind. Each year, entries are submitted and judged during special jury screenings.
Screening: The Near Nazareth Festival (June 6-8, 2022)
"The Waltz" will be screened at the The Near Nazareth Festival in Israel. More information about the festival is located here: https://nnfest21.wixsite.com/nnfestival-12
Screening: Toronto Jewish Film Festival (June 16-June 26, 2022)
Screening: San Francisco Jewish Film Festival (July 21-August 7, 2022)
"The Waltz" will be screened at the 42nd San Francisco Jewish Film Festival in the United States. More information about the festival is available here: https://jfi.org/film-festival