This very well made documentary gives a rare insight into the lives and rites of religious Jews in Vienna today. If you don't know anybody active in the Jewish community you will hardly know how much time and thoughts and money is going into a Bar Mitzwa. The families shown in this film are mostly quite wealthy, therefor the arrangements appear very impressive. I did not know for example that there is also a ritual for girls, (at twelve years of age) called Bat Mitzwa. One young lady can be seen fussing over her dress and who has to sit on which table and so on.
The film also shows the work of a Viennese filmmaker specialized in filming Jewish ceremonies of any kind. The procedure in the synagogue is clear and fixed but the overall look and size of the celebration after wards is open to the child and parents to decide. The title giving sequence shows a boy who wanted to have his Bar Mitzwa combined with his love for Zorro. So the parents hired this filmmaker who not only covers the events in the synagogue and the party but shoots a film clip showing the boy riding and fencing in costume of Zorro, to be presented at the Bar Mitzwa party.
The four or five samples that we see here also indicate different styles of strictness within the tradition itself. Boys of orthodox parents have to learn much more and the fun after wards shows men and women celebrating separately. There are some interviews with parents and grandparents who tell of their own memories, some stating that because of difficult circumstances they never had a Bar Mitzwa at all.
One thing that comes over in all episodes is the strong love and pride of the parents for their children, which is quite touching.
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