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Crossing Delancey (1988)

Even with three features under her belt, including her arthouse breakthrough, Hester Street (1975), director Joan Micklin Silver had trouble securing funding for this adaptation of Susan Sandler’s play about a young Jewish woman torn between the culturally upscale world where she works and her roots on the Lower East Side. It wasn’t until she cast Amy Irving in the female lead that she was able to interest Warner Bros. The actress is incandescent onscreen as the woman who dreams of a romance with a cultured author (Jeroen Krabbé) but finds herself oddly drawn to the pickle merchant (Peter Riegert) her “Bubbe” (Reizl Bozyk) has picked out for her.

Silver shot on location in New York, capturing the feel of the Lower East Side Jewish neighborhood in which Irving’s character grew up, though she had to go to Hoboken for the scenes in the uptown bookstore. A lot of the film’s authenticity also came from the casting of Yiddish theatre veteran Bozyk, who, at 73, was making only her second film and her first in English. The film also features early performances by David Hyde Pierce, Kathleen Wilhoite, and Reg E. Cathey.

d. Joan Micklin Silver, 97 minutes, 35mm

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Classics and Park Circus LLC