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The Manor (2013)

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An intimate portrayal of a peculiar Jewish family running a small town strip club, while attempting to nurse their relationships and themselves back to health.

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Credited cast:
Gillian Brown ...
Brenda Cohen ...
Roger Cohen ...
Sammy Cohen ...
Shawney Cohen ...
Susan Dent ...
Bobby Ranger ...


The Cohen family has owned The Manor strip club in Guelph, Ontario for thirty years, originally purchased by family patriarch, Roger Cohen. Five years ago, Roger's oldest son, Shawney Cohen started working at the club while he tried to figure out what to do with his life. He realizes that working at or owning the strip club is not what he wants to do for the rest of his life, and that his younger brother, Sammy Cohen is better suited to that life. But Shawney isn't working very hard to get out of it, in part as he tries to get a handle on the interrelationships between all his family members, which also includes his mother, Brenda Cohen. Those relationships have largely suffered because of the strip club, which in part is manifested in both his parents suffering from eating issues, but on opposite ends of the spectrum. Roger is obese and refuses to give up food, while Brenda does not eat, which has resulted in her being malnourished. The family will have to figure out if The Manor in ... Written by Huggo

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25 April 2013 (Canada)  »

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The Manor is the best documentary you'll ever see about a strip club.
6 August 2014 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

"She's not Jewish! I mean, why don't you go waste your time on a Jewish Girl." - Roger Cohen

What happens when your family structures its life exclusively around one institution, and that institution happens to be a strip club? This is the surprising question that Shawney Cohen and Mike Gallay's excellent film The Manor asks. The answers that the film provides over its short running time are equally surprising; I found myself wanting to spend more time in the company of these fascinating people, despite the quiet tragedy at the centre of the family. The Manor is an impossible film to describe, as all the individuals it documents are such deeply contradictory figures they can't help but come across as genuine, deeply conflicted, and worthy of understanding.

But the heart of the film belongs to mother Brenda Cohen, and her devastating struggle with an eating disorder. The Manor performs the almost miraculous task of bringing her struggle to life, and throughout the film the audience desperately yearns for her recovery. The rest is best left unsaid, as part of the pleasures of viewing the film. When the credits roll, one is simply left with the wish that Shawney finds his niche; that Sammy get outs from under his father and succeeds; that Bobby finds peace; that Susan finds comfort; that Roger sells the damned club; and most of all, that Brenda finds happiness and health. To leave a documentary with such strong wishes for people we don't even know is the highest compliment that can be paid to these two talented filmmakers.

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