Dir. Joan Micklin Silver, 1975
89 min, Yiddish with English subtitles
Set in 1896, the Lower East Side tenements buzz with life as immigrants try to eke out a piece of the American Dream for themselves. Carol Kane plays Gitl, a Russian Jew, immigrating to titular Hester Street with her son to join her husband, who has become Americanized and fascinated with another. Gitl struggles with integrating, clinging to her heritage and struggling to make sense of the new world and the state of her marriage. Largely in Yiddish, this film reconstructs the lives of immigrants of the era with stunning accuracy, with Kane's magnificent portrayal garnering her a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Actress.