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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 beautiful and from a good family, preferably rich. Zaza's parents, Yasha and Lily drag Zaza to meet potential brides and their families. Zaza has no choice. He plays along with his family, advocates of the suffocating traditions of their Georgian Jewish heritage. But Zaza always manages to somehow get out of being engaged. What his parents don't know is that Zaza is already in love. Judith is sensuous, strong and intriguing. She's also a divorcée with a 6-year-old daughter. So Zaza has kept Judith a secret from his family. He will have to choose between respect of the strict confines of family and tradition, or the love of his life. Written by
Late Marriage is one of the best Israeli films in many years. It is to the credit of director Dover Kashashivili to translate it to the screen into one of the frankest depiction of a love affair seen in recent memory. The director avoids the clichés of other films that pretend to show a sexual relationship between two lovers in a a film. He doesn't leave anything to our imagination as the characters of this story clearly show us.
The two main actors, Lior Ashkenazi, Zaza, and Ronit Elkabetz, the Judith of the story, are mature individuals who obviously feel a passionate love for one another. They're powerless against the wishes of Zaza's family who are hell bent into separating them. Never mind that is very obvious how both feel about each other. She's an older divorcée who obviously will be the ruin of the scholarly Zaza.
Both Mr. Ashkenazy and Ms. Elkabetz could give acting lessons to our repressed so-called movie stars. Their passion is on the surface for us to see and feel. What we really enjoyed was the way these two actors act against each other in what could have been very embarrassing scenes. They pulled it off with panache.
The ensemble cast is very good, but of course, they don't come close to the stars who take the film and run away with it. Let's hope we can see more of them in other Israeli films.
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