Friday, August 3, 2007

Jason goes to Jewfest--Wednesday, Aug. 1

Two more movies Wednesday, here we go:

"Bad Faith" is a French romantic comedy about a Muslim man and a Jewish girl who are in love. Everything is fine, until she gets pregnant. Even then, that's even better until they have to introduce each other to their parents. Then things go bad. First her parents freak out, then they mellow out, then they try to convert him. Meanwhile he's terrified to bring her home, and when he gets up the courage she's stuck at work that night. Meanwhile with questions of how the child will be raised, they both start drifting from completely secular to more and more religious. He fasts for Ramadan, she puts a mezuzah on their door (which he has to hide when his mother comes for dinner). Things veer from comic to tragic in a heartbeat, but ultimately it is a comedy and there is a positive ending (without giving too much away). I competent and sometimes brilliant directorial debut by Roschdy Zem, an accomplished actor who plays the male lead Ismaƫl and was also excellent in "Days of Glory".

Next up was the short film program, "Jews in Shorts". Here we go:
"I'm Charlie Chaplin"--3 year old girl love Chaplin, dresses up as him twice for Halloween. By local Jewish director Jay Rosenblatt, starring his daughter. Pretty funny.
"Orders of Love"-- Jes Benstock (who made "Holocaust Tourist" that played here last year) makes another graphically inventive, kinetic, and highly effective and moving film, this time about his worries about his family history of depression and suicide, and what that means for his young son.
"Tolya"--A sweet and comical story of a toothless Belarusan in Israel calling home to tell his wife he loves her.
Naturalized"--In Soviet Russia, a certain form of cosmetic surgery signifying a Jew's covenant with G-d was banned. For those who've emigrated, the decision of whether or not to have the surgery can be difficult. But if you've made the decision and your family bursts into the hospital to object, it can be hilarious.
Weitzman Street No. 10"--Navigating Tel Aviv can be difficult for a newly arrived Russian family. The air raid siren is scary, but the behavior of their neighbors is just bizarre.
Yedidiah's Collection"--A short documentary about the withdrawal of Gaza settlers, told from the point of view of Yedidiah, a young boy who collects spent ammunition. That's just life.
Your Younger Daughter Rachel"--A drama of household abuse, fear, and a young woman trying to live with her abusive father and cowardly mother. Good, but sad and long. It kind of dragged on, and that's just not what I wanted to end the night on.

And that was Wednesday. I'm almost caught up.

[Update: I forgot to mention that there was a short before "Bad Faith". "A Kiss is a Kiss is a Kiss". Unlikely couples are put on a couch and the director tries to coax them to kiss. There's a pair of straight men, an old lady with a teenage boy, a liberal woman with an orthodox man (who can't even touch a woman unless he's married to her), and a Palestinian man with a female Israeli soldier. Three of the four couples actually kiss. Guess which one doesn't.]

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