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The Holy Land (2001)

R | | Drama | 2001 (Israel)
A coming-of-age saga set against the tense backdrop of Arab-Israeli politics. Mendy is a young Rabbinical student whose mind is too full of curiosity about the world that exists outside the... See full summary »


Eitan Gorlin


Eitan Gorlin

On Disc

at Amazon

2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Oren Rehany ... Mendy
Tchelet Semel ... Natasha "Sasha" Sonsova
Saul Stein ... Mike
Albert Iluz ... Razi
Aryeh Moskona ... The Exterminator (as Ariel Moskuna)
Alon Dahan ... Reb Nocham (Mendy's Rabbi)
Mosko Alkalai ... Professor Milan (as Moscu Alcalay)
Liat Bein ... Mendy's Mother
Yehoyachin Friedlander Yehoyachin Friedlander ... Mendy's Father
Lanny Shahaf Lanny Shahaf ... Exterminator's Wife
Lupo Berkowitch ... Daryl (as Lupo Berkowitz)
Aryeh Hasfari Aryeh Hasfari ... Jamal (schoolboy) (as Arie Hassfari)
Harel Noff Harel Noff ... Hobo Priest
Icho Avital ... Bar Patron
Louise Asher Louise Asher ... Screaming Lady


A coming-of-age saga set against the tense backdrop of Arab-Israeli politics. Mendy is a young Rabbinical student whose mind is too full of curiosity about the world that exists outside the restrictions of Orthodox Judaism. Recognizing his distraction, Mendy's teacher suggests that he visit a prostitute to get it out of his system. But on a fateful night, when he meets Sacha, a captivating Russian expatriate, who works in a Tel Aviv bordello, his appetite for outside experience only grows stronger. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content, language and some drug use | See all certifications »





English | Arabic | Russian | Hebrew

Release Date:

2001 (Israel) See more »

Also Known As:

Eretz HaKodesh See more »

Filming Locations:

Tel Aviv, Israel See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$19,014, 11 July 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$603,520, 23 January 2004
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



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Did You Know?


Featured in The 2003 IFP Independent Spirit Awards (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

At its core a coming of age story, but it is so much more.
3 May 2006 | by itclark64See all my reviews

The story is about a Jewish boy growing up in an orthodox Jewish family. Like many such environments he is told all the answers of life and religion and is not allowed to explore them for himself. Feeling sexually repressed he is told to go to a brothel by his rabbi to get it out of his system. There he meets and falls in love with a Russian prostitute "Sasha". Throughout the movie he meets many original but believable characters including an M16 touting American Jew that calls himself the "exterminator". Mike an American photojournalist that runs a bar called Mikes Place in Jerusalem. In Mikes place Arabs and Jews drink side by side in a late 60's early 70's hippie kind of atmosphere.

This movie is bazaar but is also believable with it's rich environments around Israel. It shows a realistic version of Israel depicting the Jerusalem night life and life in general. Some religious tension does exist in the film but is not the main focus that Americans often see in CNN and other Hollywood movies.

The movie is about growing up, about religion and the questions we all ask about god, about finding answer's for ourselves, about falling in love, about innocence, about making a life for yourself. The Holy Land takes a deep look into the human experience like none I have ever seen before but does it in a realistic way that doesn't drag you down and depresses you when you are done watching it. By the end of the movie you are thoughtful, a little sad but feel like you just experienced something special.

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