Jerry & Me | Chicago Reader

Jerry & Me

38 minutes 2012

Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa, a professor at Columbia College, saw her first Jerry Lewis movie when she was a 14-year-old girl in Tehran, and as she explains in this engrossing essay film, the comedian became synonymous in her mind with the U.S. Her documentary is particularly impressive for the way she reframes American pop culture from the perspective of an Iranian woman: she was introduced to Hollywood movies by her father—according to her, a chronic philanderer—and though she was offended by the loose morals of the female characters, Lewis held a particular fascination because his goofy behavior would have been utterly taboo for a girl in Tehran. The movie ends with video footage of Lewis's 1996 visit to Columbia, where he was interviewed by faculty member Scott Marks; apparently Saeed-Vafa was unable to score the face time with her idol that would have made for a truly satisfying climax, but this is still a unique personal perspective on a cinematic legend.

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