Hannan, a talmudic scholar, falls in love with Leah'le, the daughter of Sender, a rich merchant. Sender opposes a marriage between the two, as he prefers a rich suitor for his daughter. In desperation, Hannan decides to study the mystical arts of the Kabbalah, in the hopes of finding a way to win back Leah'le, whom he feels is his predestined bride. When Sender announces that he has found a suitable bridegroom for Leah'le, Hannan drops dead in a state of mystical ecstasy. On the day of her wedding, Leah'le goes to the graveyard, for the purpose of inviting the spirit of her dead mother to attend the wedding. She stops by the graves of a bride and groom who were murdered together before their marriage was consummated, and invites their spirits to the wedding. Finally she is drawn to the grave of Hannan, and leaves the graveyard appearing somehow "changed". Under the wedding canopy, Leah'le suddenly cries out to her intended: "You are not my bridegroom!" and rushes to the grave of the slaughtered bride and groom. A man's voice issues from her mouth, saying "I have returned to my predestined bride, and I shall not leave her". She has been possessed by the Dybbuk. Leah'le is brought to the home of a Hassidic sage who is to exorcise the dyybuk from her body. Several attempts fail, and finally the sage calls upon the chief rabbi of the town for assistance. The chief rabbi arrives and tells of a dream he had, in which Nisn, the long-dead father of Hannan demanded that Sender, father of Leah'le, be called before the rabbinical court. The room is prepared as a court, and the spirit of Hannan's father is invited to plead its case from within a chalk circle drawn upon the floor. The spirit speaks to the rabbi, and tells him of a pact made between him and Sender, many years ago, that their two children shall be wed. By denying Hannan his daughter's hand in marriage, Sender broke the pact. The rabbis attempt to appease the spirit, and order that Sender must give half of his worldly goods and money to the poor, and say Kaddish over the spirits of Hannan and his father. But the dybbuk does not acknowledge that it has been appeased. Leah'le is left within the chalk circle of protection while the others leave to prepare for her wedding. The image of Hannan appears before her, and she leaves the safety of the circle to unite with her beloved - presumably, in death. Considered one of the finest Yiddish movies ever made, this movie is all the more interesting in that it was filmed in pre-War Poland in 1937, where the world's largest Jewish population lived at the time. Watch the actors closely: the majority of them found their premature end in the Holocaust the Germans and their helpers launched upon Poland during the Second World War. Just as most of the actors in the film would be gone by War's end, so most of Poland would look radically different by the time it was "liberated" by the Soviets in 1944/45. Thus, the film is valuable in showing us two worlds which would almost completely disappear within a decade of the film's completion.
REGION FREE (will play in any DVD player).
DVD-R IS IN YIDDISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES. APPROX. 126 MINS.
Old Film Sample (Prior to 16 Jul 2016):
New Film Sample (As of 16 Jul 2016):