film + conversation

LAYKA Lens is Yiddishkayt’s film + conversation series that takes place in both live and virtual spaces. We curate films that connect to the cultural heritage of Central and Eastern Europe, while also speaking to the present moment. Watch our film selection in advance, then join us for a live-streamed, unscripted conversation with some of the country’s top critics, scholars, and artists. This cultural series is curated in partnership with the Los Angeles Review of Books.

The Latest Lens | March 2021


Ernst Lubitsch, Germany, 1920

A special edition of our LAYKA Lens series in partnership with the Thomas Mann House, this month we look at Ernst Lubitsch’s 1920 silent feature Sumurun. The LAYKA panel will take on this film, whose appearance in Thomas Mann’s 1924 masterpiece The Magic Mountain, provides an early example of cross-pollination between the arts.

Based on an “Orientalist pantomime,” Sumurun has been often criticized for its heavy use of stereotypes and historical distortion, yet the film’s orientalism is also a European projection that tells us much about the social order in the aftermath of the First World War and in the early Weimar Republic.


Up next in the LAYKA Lens series is Ernst Lubitsch’s silent classic Sumurun — also known as One Arabian Night to English-speaking audiences in the Roaring Twenties. Join us, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and the Thomas Mann House Los Angeles on March 14, 2021 as we discuss this film. You can stream the film on the Yiddishkayt website anytime before we meet for the live conversation.

Previous LAYKA Lens Discussions