Segments in this Video

Introduction: Last of the Wild Jews (05:59)


This section introduces the combative and often inflammatory Canadian Jew, Mordecai Richler. Richler belonged to a group of North American Jewish writers and performers referred to as "wild jews".

Jewish Tradition New and Old (04:42)

Richler and his cohorts adopted the Judaic tradition of questioning and applied it to their work. Mordecai's father Rabbi Utel Rosenberg epitomized the old world and its traditions. Rosenberg's story The Golem of Prague was a precursor to later superhero figures such as Superman.

Richler's European Excursion (06:10)

Richler belonged to a generation of Jews that did not fit into either their parents' culture or that of Canada or America. His reaction to the conservative environment he grew up in was to rebel. Leaving for England, he discovered the works of Ukrainian Jewish author Isaac Babel.

Jewish Comic Liberation (02:51)

Globe And Mail book editor Martin Levin explains how Richler and his contemporaries Saul Bellow and Philip Roth engaged in "literature's liberation." These Jewish writers were part of a "comic explosion" in Jewish literature and performance.

Richler's Personal Life and Politics (09:50)

Richler's widow, Florence Richler, describes living with Mordecai, and his private persona. Having grown up resisting communal pressures, Richler was very suspicious of Canadian nationalism. After 20 years abroad with a successful career, Richler returned to his hometown in Canada.

Return to Saint-Urbain (05:42)

Lifelong friend Jack Rabinovitch describes the tension between Richler and the local Jewish community upon his return. Levin explains how Richler became a Jewish icon over time.

Against Quebec Nationalism (08:27)

Mordecai's last crusade took aim at rising Quebec nationalism, and associated antisemitism. Contemporaries and journalists from the period explain the context and controversy of Richler's book "Oh Canada! Oh Canada!"

Return to Literature (03:48)

After his contention with Quebec nationalism, Richler went back to writing. Rex Murphy describes the qualities that set Richler apart from a generation of prolific Canadian writers.

Richler's Final Years (03:44)

Richler's companions relate heartfelt moments from his last days before succumbing to cancer. Murphy and others reflect on Richler's legacy and his role as an icon of Jewish literature.

Credits: Mordecai Richler: The Last of the Wild Jews (00:46)

Credits: Mordecai Richler: The Last of the Wild Jews

For additional digital leasing and purchase options contact a media consultant at 800-257-5126
(press option 3) or

Mordecai Richler: The Last of the Wild Jews

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Scripted by Richler’s new biographer, writer Charlie Foran, in collaboration with the film's director, Francine Pelletier, the film looks at Mordecai Richler, the man and the writer, in a new way as one of a generation of gifted, angry Jewish writers and intellectuals who dominated much of North American culture from the 1950s to the end of the century: Saul Bellow, Irving Layton, Lenny Bruce, Philip Roth, Norman Mailer, and others. Richler, like the others, was a "wild Jew." Born to immigrant parents and raised on a heady mix of talmudic teachings and comic book superheroes, later inspired by Isaac Babel’s jewish underworld, Richler was a natural agitator and provocateur. Like his famous American counterparts, he had the courage to rattle the cage of the complacent and the sacred while leaving an indelible mark on the society around them. Volatile, often contradictory, bereft of nuance, Mordecai Richler was also, as the film will show, sensible, engaging, and unnervingly forthright. An undeniably rich asset to Canada’s cultural and literary life—his best-known works are The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravits and Barney’s Version—both made into films—and the Jacob Two-Two children's stories. His 1989 novel Solomon Gurksy Was Here was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1990.

Length: 52 minutes

Item#: BVL150284

ISBN: 978-1-64347-682-7

Copyright date: ©2010

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video and Publisher customers.

Only available in USA and Canada.