09 20 Oct '24
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Arnaud Desplechin

Esther Kahn

157' - 2000 - Drama, Romance - Dialogue: Yiddish, Italian, Hebrew, English
Director: Arnaud Desplechin Composer: Howard Shore With: Summer Phoenix, Ian Holm, Fabrice Desplechin
The English-language debut of French director Arnaud Desplechin, ‘Esther Kahn’ charts the ascension of a lower-class Jewish girl from a turn-of-the-century London ghetto to one of the stage's leading actresses. Esther feels set apart from her large, raucous family, who are all employed in the garment business. Her life is changed when she attends a Yiddish theatre performance, and she is suddenly determined to become an actress. After joining a small theatre company, she becomes the protégé of Nathan, a stage veteran who instructs her in her chosen craft. Esther gradually works her way up in the ranks – taking a lover, brainy French theatre critic Philippe, along the way – until she is cast in the title role of ‘Hedda Gabler’, which she performs to great acclaim. (Rebecca Flint)

Image gallery

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Arnaud Desplechin


Howard Shore


Summer Phoenix, Ian Holm, Fabrice Desplechin


Arnaud Desplechin, Emmanuel Bourdieu, Arthur Symons

Director of Photography

Eric Gautier


Hervé de Luze, Martine Giordano


Chris Curling, Alain Sarde, Grégoire Sorlat

More information


Yiddish, Italian, Hebrew, English

Countries of production

United Kingdom, France



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