Movie Showing: The First Fagin

February 7, 2013 is the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ birth.

To mark the occasion, Bet Am Shalom will be showing The First Fagin, a newly released docudrama depicting the life of Ikey Solomon who is reputed to be the inspiration for the character of Fagin in Oliver Twist.

When Charles Dickens created the character of Fagin, he gave birth to one of the most infamous rogues in English literature. Few people know that Dickens' portrait of Fagin drew inspiration from the life of the Jewish receiver and fencer of stolen goods, Ikey Solomon. The First Fagin recreates Ikey's journey from London's dens of vice, Newgate Prison, and the notorious prison "hulks" on the Thames to a daring escape to the new world of Australia. Ikey then tempted fate by sailing to Tasmania in search of his wife, who had been transported as a convict. In Tasmania, Ikey began a long legal battle to defy the authorities of one of Australia's most severe convict settlements. The film blends reconstructed dramatic sequences with historical documentary. As a rare examination of the criminal subculture from which Dickens drew inspiration, and of the convict system in early colonial Australia, the film seamlessly blends reconstructed dramatic sequences with historical documentary.

The movie was directed by Alan Rosenthal, who will introduce the movie and lead a discussion after the showing.

Mr. Rosenthal is a Jerusalem based, award winning filmmaker whose career began with the filming of the Eichmann Trial for Israeli television. He has more than 60 documentary films to his credit including the Peabody Award winner, “Out of the Ashes.” He is a Professor of Communications at the Hebrew University, York University in Toronto, and at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, and is the author of numerous books on documentary filmmaking.

Admission is free for BAS members, $5 for non-members.