Melissa Pierson
June 14, 1996 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The impenetrable blackness of any genocide is further darkened by another shadow: the concurrent loss of a whole world of creative expression. In the case of the Holocaust and the buoyant Eastern European Jewish folk music known as klezmer, the erasure was nearly complete. But because of a few tough survivors to whom it represents the soul of Jewish identity, it too survives. The Last Klezmer is a homespun movie that is the very personal story of Leopold Kozlowski, the last of the klezmer musicians who trained before WWII. American filmmaker Yale Strom found him in Poland and followed him (always trailing lively music) on an emotional trip to his past. Viewers desiring a tidy, comprehensive documentary will be disappointed. Those who want one that is moving and real surely will not. B+

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