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In Jerusalem's orthodox neighborhoods, it's Succoth, seven days celebrating life's essentials in a sukkah, a temporary shack of both deprivation and hospitality. A devout couple, Moshe and Mali, married nearly five years and childless, are broke and praying for a miracle. Suddenly, miracles abound: a friend finds Moshe a sukkah he says is abandoned, Moshe is the beneficiary of local charitable fundraising, and two escaped convicts arrive on Moshe and Mali's doorstep in time to be their ushpizin - their guests. The miracles then become trials. Rabbinical advice, absolution, an effort to avoid anger, and a 1000-shekel citron figure in Moshe's dark night of the soul. Written by
Shuli Rand retired from acting after becoming religious. He returned to acting just to make this film. See more »
They worked out of luck, out of hope. And faith was all they had to hang on to. But on this holy week, where guests are considered a blessing, these two unexpected visitors bring with them: a secret from the past. A secret that would test their love and challenge their faith. Now only a miracle will turn their fortune around.
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This comedy which received Best Picture award from Israeli Critics in 2004 reveals a world that most of us don't know at all the world of pious, ultra-Orthodox Jews in the Jerusalem courtyards that seem to be indifferent to what century or even millennium is passing by. On the eve of the Jewish harvest holiday of Succoth, Moshe and Mali, a devoutly religious but impoverished couple, pray fervently for a miracle that they desperately need for money they need to build a Sukkah for holiday, for "ushpizin" ("holy guests") to share the holiday with, and for the most wonderful miracle of all, for a child they dream of but don't have. A series of unexpected events occur, including the appearance of two "unholy guests" two escaped parolees from Moshe's wild past. Moshe and Mali invited the guests to share the holiday with them, and more unpredictable events would follow...
"Ushpizin" is the first collaborative effort between Israel's religious and secular communities and it features many non-professionals who gave very good performances in the movie. Shuli Rand, the writer-star of the movie and his real life wife, Michal Bat-Sheva Rand played Moshe and Mali, and their chemistry is palpable and real contributing to this thoroughly charming story of faith, love, and devotion.
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