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Montreal 1948. On Rosh Hashanah, Chaim (a Yiddish writer) is forced to think of his religion when he's asked to be the tenth in a minyan. As he sits in the park, he suddenly sees an old ... See full summary »
In 1980 the black Falashas in Ethiopia are recognised as genuine Jews. In turn they are secretly carried to Israel. The day before the transport the son of a Jewish mother dies. In his ... See full summary »
Zaza is a 31-year old Israeli bachelor, handsome and intelligent, and his family wants to see him married. But tradition dictates that Zaza has to choose a young virgin. She must be ... See full summary »
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The year 2000 approaches in Jerusalem's Orthodox Mea Shearim quarter, where the women work, keep house, and have children so the men can study the Torah and the Talmud. Rivka is happily and passionately married to Meir, but they remain childless. The yeshiva's rabbi, who is Meir's father, wants Meir to divorce Rivka: "a barren woman is no woman." Rivka's sister, Malka, is in love with Yakov, a Jew shunned by the yeshiva as too secular. The rabbi arranges Malka's marriage to Yossef, whose agitation when fulfilling religious duties approaches the grotesque. Can the sisters sort out their hearts' desires within this patriarchal world? If not, have they any other options? Written by
My big problem with this film is its view of the haredim (`ultra Orthodox' as they're sometimes called in English). Amos Gitai was called anti-religious for this movie. I don't know if he is or not. I DO know, as a modern observant Jew, that this film does not nearly portray the complexities of women's lives in haredi society. It simply chooses to portray them as victims. There have been cases of spousal abuse, marital rape, et cetera, in the haredi community, but it is not the norm. What happened with the divorce is extraordinarily unlikely in real life, yet he made it seem realistic. It's very easy to paint a picture of a society as an oppressive patriarchy if you only draw it as a caricature, and that's what Gitai did.
As a result, the good parts of the film, such as the performances, are almost meaningless, because the film's vision is so distorted and one-dimensional. This would have been a far more interesting film if it had portrayed haredi women's difficulties (which, like in any conservative society, are real) in a more complex way. There are many fascinating stories to be told about the haredi community, which combines rigid rules with an incredibly rich family and spiritual life. Kadosh shows you the pain haredi women experience, but never the joy.
Please, if you have no experience or familiarity with haredi or even Orthodox Judaism in general, take this film with a grain of salt. It's far from all there is.
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