Mendy is a young man struggling to keep his mind focused on rabbinical school. His teacher tells him to rid himself of desires by visiting a prostitute in Tel Aviv. Mendy falls head over heels in love with a Russian harlot named Sasha.
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
"Holy Land" tells a story as old as the Bible, and in films certainly as old as "The Blue Angel," in a nerd's obsession with a scarlet woman.
The twist is the obsession is at an incendiary intersection, of secular Tel Aviv vs observant Jerusalem, of old-fashioned and religious vs modern and profane Israeli Jews, of American and Russian immigrants with starkly opposite motivations from fanaticism to economic opportunity, of Arabs vs Jews, of intellectuals vs thugs, of terrorists of all kinds of ages and beliefs and tactics vs burned-out drunks.
In a place obsessed with history, each character is trying to lose the individual past that haunts them, and ends up trapped by it. The story is powerful, based on the writer/director Eitan Gorlin's original novella, but is hampered by execution in poor quality technical production with some amateur actors.
It has some similarities to other recent films, being somewhat more sympathetic to the Orthodox lifestyle than the rabidly prejudiced "Kadosh" (here the yeshiva boy's tearful reaction to the casually cruel cutting of his forelocks was really moving), and was like "Lilja 4-ever" in showing how psychically manipulative is the exploitation of former Eastern Bloc women.
It seems that what all the cultures of the Mideast have in common is unbridled lust such that they end up agreeing on "Where is God? He's in your dick."
In the mix of languages even within a single sentence and accents, I appreciated the presence of subtitles whenever it wasn't clear what was being said.
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