When a famous American film director, Rudolph Grichenberg, comes to Paris to cast a Yiddish version of 'The Merchant of Venice,' Maurice Kurtz and his friends try out for the role of ... See full summary »
When a famous American film director, Rudolph Grichenberg, comes to Paris to cast a Yiddish version of 'The Merchant of Venice,' Maurice Kurtz and his friends try out for the role of Shylock. Thinking he has finally been cast in an important film role after years of obscurity, Maurice rushes home to tell his beloved wife, Perla. Later, Maurice discovers the part has gone to a famous American star, but he must play the role of his life to be sure Perla, who has become very ill with cancer, doesn't find out. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
"Le grand rôle" effectively dramatizes a simple and elegant premise: the dramas we play in our daily lives are more vital than anything people might play on a stage. The film, set in present-day Paris--unglorified but beautiful as always--explores issues of relationship and integrity as Hollywood films of the past might have done. Probably, younger audiences will be mystified by the film's unadorned grasp of what's important in life. In refreshing contrast to our current notions of get-ahead-whatever-it-takes, the main characters in this film--a group of struggling actors--place an old-fashioned value on their sense of community. Of course they want to advance in their careers, but never at the expense of their families or friends. Into their midst comes a big-time Hollywood director--a killing portrait by Peter Coyote--who is clever enough to have gotten to the top but whose basic notes invariably ring false. The result is a drama of the heart that keeps your attention riveted from first to last and, if you're able to relate to it, will send you away from the theater a bigger human being.
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