“What is the responsibility of the poet?”
A question Grace Paley emphatically answers throughout her life.

Grace Paley: Collected Shorts
a film by Lilly Rivlin -- 75 min
Grace Paley: Collected Shorts | A Film by Lilly Rivlin

"So good is this new work -- so immediate, enthralling, moving and funny -- that it will probably create a bunch of new Paley fans... Every moment in the film is alive and rich -- just like Grace... If the movie is a paean to Paley well -- goddamn -- the woman deserves it." - Read TrustMovies Review by James Van Maanen

"Grace Paley; Collected Shorts is a visual parallel of Paley's life and writings revealed in colorful 'shorts' and told in her own voice. Master short-story writer and poet, political activist, teacher, mother and friend, Grace was a New York icon who captured the essence of the city she loved. This film vividly illuminates every aspect of Grace Paley's extraordinary life and times."

"An inspiring documentary portrait of the Jewish writer and political activist who established her reputation in the 1950s with brilliantly funny and frank tales of Jewish American urban women. The film mixes candid recollections and passionate readings by Paley with fond remembrances by literary critics, family and writer-friends Allan Gurganas and Alice Walker into a uniquely insightful account of a brilliant woman who constantly reinvented her life and art."

"If you aren’t a fan of Grace Paley, you are likely to become one after seeing this film. Director Lilly Rivlin succeeds in capturing Paley’s life, one that was deeply immersed in writing, activism and community." - Read Review by Sue Katz




New York icon, author/activist Grace Paley is alive and well in Lilly  Rivlin’s latest film which has its World Premier at  the preeminent San Francisco Jewish Film festival at the fabled Castro theatre in San Francisco on July 25 at 11:00 am and continues to Berkeley, August 1, at 12:00 at the Roda Theatre, as well as to other sites in Northern California. 

The 75 minute documentary, "GRACE PALEY: COLLECTED SHORTS" is a comprehensive history of one of our most beloved writers.  Rivlin chose to make a film about Grace Paley because she “combined the best of all possible worlds- literature, politics, and love of humanity. Grace was a real mensch.”  

Grace Paley’s life illuminates the major protest movements of the latter part of the 20th century, culminating in the feminist movement, regarded by some social theorists as the most important movement of those tumultuous times. Translated into 92 languages, Paley was New York’s first official state author and past poet laureate of Vermont. Ranked among the great writers of her generation by peers like Philip Roth, Paley combined a life as a master short story writer, compared to Chekhov, with political activism, motherhood, teaching and being a cherished friend.  

The film takes the viewer on a journey from Grace’s early life as the child of Russian Jewish refugees who fled oppression for the freedom of America.  They were Socialists who instilled in her a passion for justice. Later, her talent for writing poetry was encouraged by W.H. Auden with whom she studied. Grace went on to teach creative writing for twenty-two years at Sarah Lawrence College where she was a major influence on her students artistically while inspiring their social and political “Responsibility” (the title of what is arguably her most emblematic poem).

"Grace Paley: Collected Shorts" has no narration. The structure is a visual parallel of Paley’s life and writings revealed in colorful “shorts” and told in her own voice. 

Rivlin, whose films "The Tribe" and "Gimme a Kiss" both premiered at the SFJFF is no stranger to the Bay area.  She was a graduate student in political science at the U. of California, Berkeley in the heady and turbulent '60s.  She became a filmmaker in midlife, documenting women, both notable and ordinary who have one thing in common…they are all political.  In producing Grace Paley’s story, her first biography, Rivlin teamed up with three-time Emmy award winner Margaret Murphy.  The two first worked together on Rivlin’s last film “Can You Hear Me? Israeli and Palestinian Women Fight for Peace.”

REVIEWS of "Grace Paley: Collected Shorts"

ABOUT Grace Paley A Portrait

Brandeis Jewish Film - Grace Paley: Collected Shorts

Distributor: The National Center for Jewish Film www.jewishfilm.org



Lilly Rivlin © 2004 - 2014. All Rights Reserved.

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