11 user 24 critic

La petite Jérusalem (2005)

Not Rated | | Drama | 14 December 2005 (France)
A beautiful Jewish young woman still living with her orthodox family in a Parisian suburb, falls in love with a Muslim co-worker.


Karin Albou


Karin Albou
8 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Fanny Valette ... Laura
Elsa Zylberstein ... Mathilde
Bruno Todeschini ... Ariel
Hédi Tillette de Clermont-Tonerre Hédi Tillette de Clermont-Tonerre ... Djamel (as Hédi Tillette de Clermont Tonerre)
Sonia Tahar Sonia Tahar ... The Mother
Michaël Cohen ... Eric
Aurore Clément ... Woman at Mikva
François Marthouret François Marthouret ... The Philosophy Professor
Salah Teskouk Salah Teskouk ... Djamel's Uncle
Saïda Bekkouche Saïda Bekkouche ... Djamel's Aunt
Marlon Altiparmakian Marlon Altiparmakian ... Mickael
Michel Hadjadj Michel Hadjadj ... Michel
Anaël Cohen-Skalli Anaël Cohen-Skalli ... Anaël
Chana Cohen-Skalli Chana Cohen-Skalli ... Chana
Esther Chekroun Esther Chekroun ... The Woman Talisman


The Tunisian-French Laura is a young woman that lives with her Orthodox Jewish family in the Jewish community in the suburbs of Paris. Her mother is a widow that left Tunisia; her sister Mathilde is having troubles in her marriage because she repressed her sexual desire based on her misunderstandings of the principles of her religion. Laura is an open minded student of philosophy and works cleaning a school in the nightshift. While Laura feels a strong passion and desire for her Muslin Algerian colleague, her sister finds that her husband had an affair with a woman and looks for an advisor that helps her to interpret the true meaning of love and the duties of a married woman. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Despite premiering at the Cannes Film Festival and being director Karin Albou's first feature film the movie was disqualified from being eligible for the Camera d'or, awarded to any debut film playing at the festival, because Albou had previously directed a made for TV movie. See more »


Referenced in Comme au cinéma: Episode dated 13 December 2005 (2005) See more »

User Reviews

Beautiful introduction to Jewry, being a minority in Paris and repression of feelings!
6 May 2010 | by stuka24See all my reviews

This little gem, while melodramatic, lingers in memory basically by the beauty of images, music and female characters. You get inside their lives, rites, routine, family life, status of each member, machismo, religion vs. reason, sexuality, taboos one would think would have fallen in the XXI century, urban decay, how little philosophy students earn, even in the first world :) and so many other topics that would be tiresome even to read.

The film is fun to watch, it's very easy to relate with the characters, from Todeschini's very believable Ariel (!) to of course Zilberstein, one of the most beautiful faces in French cinema and Fanny Valette, simply startling. Aurore Clément exudes classy intelligence, as in all her roles. In here her role is pivotal, albeit small. "Religion is not opposed to pleasure". Thus, she makes things change for good.

Elsa did a classy prostitute with a hidden heart in "Tenue correcte exigée" (1997), thus showing here how big is her actoral range. The only aspect I wasn't very convinced of was Djamel, and his family. For starters, I just don't see him as a good romantic partner for spellbinding Laura. Maybe it's that she's more amenable to our western idea of beauty and success at work. He, on the contrary, seems to do nothing but stalk at her at nigh, like a serial killer. We hear he says he was a journalist, but we get to know nothing about him besides he's got a bigot family. And quite stupidly, he takes her without, seemingly, having asked before if she would be accepted. The Arabs are shown as narrow minded as the Jews, only in a more brutish manner. One of the little phrases that matter is Laura's: "What did you do back home". Everybody was "something else" (presumably, better) before coming to a Paris really off the beaten track us tourists love to watch. François Marthouret, a staple of classic French cinema, portrays a very solid philo teacher. Engaging, intelligent, and fun. You really want to enroll in a College course afterwards! I have to admit Kantism seems a tad rigid, but definitely not so asking ourselves the eternal big questions, justice/law vs liberty, how much can we attain by reason alone, what is our "duty" and so one. By the way, I am surprised a College teacher has to wipe floors and clean schools at night shifts for a living in the first of first worlds. Again, the film doesn't shy away from showing real life. But what sets it apart is the vivid portrayal of the Jewish ritual, both the male's (everybody drinking, toddling their altars, including the kids, and drinking Vodka heavily) and female's Mikva (very interesting, water as purification as usual, but with a twist). The other one I liked was the families gathering on Sunday, banging their feet and emitting shrill voices, just like it must have been in the tribes, 2000 years ago. Enlightening, how so much remains the same while only a few things have changed.

Enjoy it, and take care of your loved ones! PS: Another aspect I liked was how both Djamel and Laura suffered when they had to repress their feelings, passions or just lust.

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Official Sites:

Océan Films [France]




French | Arabic | Hebrew

Release Date:

14 December 2005 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

La petite Jérusalem See more »

Filming Locations:

Sarcelles, Val-d'Oise, France


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,649, 29 January 2006

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby SR | DTS



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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