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From Israel's most important filmaker, CARMEL is Amos Gitai's (KADOSH, KIPPUR) deeply personal and resonant meditation on Jewish and Israeli identity. Using both fiction and documentary ... 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
I somehow failed for a few years to see this film, although it has been quite successful and generated a lot of discussions in Israel. I am sorry that I did not postpone indefinitely seeing it.
The theme of 'Kadosh' is a very real and painful one for those who know the Jewish religious world - the place of women in the orthodox family and society. The basic situation that sits at the premises of the film is possible, the problem is that the way it is brought to screen and the 'solution' that the conflicts described receives in the movie is wrong. Gitai does not seem to have too much sympathy for men in the religious world, but his approach of picking characters that are either fanatic, or unable to express their human feeling makes the whole story seem simplistic. Neither does he a much better service to his women characters, although here at least he shows more sympathy and he also enjoys the participation of two beautiful and gifted actresses in Yael Abecassis and Meital Barda. Overall Gitai's vision is too one-sided, his cinema means are too basic, he focuses on the technical details of the Jewish religious life, which may be interesting for people who do not know them but are really not relevant at all in the context of the whole story. Starting from interesting premises what we get here is a boring film which seems longer than it is, with a very static way of acting, obsessive use of music that plays in the same register not only from a musical but also from an emotional perspective and a very inconclusive if not even confusing ending. What difference between this film and 'Ha Ushpizin' inspired from and describing the very same social landscape and which succeeded to transmit human feelings on the screen. In 'Kadosh' there are both too little cinema and too little human emotions.
4 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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