Tonight marks the premiere of If These Knishes Could Talk, a documentary exploring the New York accent in all its colors and flavors. In the trailer above, everyone from Italian Brooklynites to Asian Staten Islanders weigh in on how their speech does or doesn’t define them, and discuss the history and future of the venerable squawk.
“It’s more ethnic than geographic,” says filmmaker Heather Quinlan of peoples’ manners of speaking across the five boroughs. “When people think of a Brooklyn accent they’re thinking more of an Italian accent, like in The Godfather. But there’s also a Jewish-Brooklyn accent, like Woody Allen, or a Puerto Rican version, like Rosie Perez. Or African-American, like Spike Lee.”
Tonight’s screening, at the Art of Brooklyn Film Festival, is sold out, but the film will also be showing at the Hoboken Film Festival and Midtown’s Quad Cinema later this year.