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Isabel and Clara are growing up in a time of terror. It is 1492, and Spain has decreed that all Jews must either convert to Catholicism, go into exile or face trial and execution. Although forcibly baptized, the sisters are chased through Christendom until they arrive in Venice. It is in this great maritime empire, where opulence rhymes with tolerance, that Isabel organizes secret passages for refugees fleeing the Inquisition while Clara falls in love with a Venetian noble, Paolo Zane. Isabel intends for her family to go to Istanbul, the only place where Jews can live freely, but Clara is reluctant to leave. She challenges Isabel's authority and is prepared to break her family ties and sacrifice her faith for love. Caught in this battle of wills is Clara's daughter, Victoria, who finds she is about to be married into the same faith that murdered her father. Written by
Exceptional film about an important time in history!
I loved this film. Among the highlights: the cinematography and scenes of Renaissance Venice; the sensitive portrayal of the Jews in hiding trying to maintain their faith; the superb acting of Isabel (Katherine Borowitz); the quiet beauty and expressiveness of the young girl Victoria (what a wonderful young actress, Hannah Taylor-Gordon) ; and the intrigues of the plot that keeps one glued to the screen, waiting to see what happens next. My only criticism was that there was some lack of clarity in what was happening as the plot reached its climax - pertaining to both to the glassmaker and the sister's emotional reactions to each other near the end. But the lack of clarity also keeps one reflecting on the film. All in all, a haunting film which I highly recommend.
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