6.6/10
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9 user 21 critic

The Women's Balcony (2016)

Ismach Hatani (original title)
A bar mitzvah mishap causes a major rift in a devout Orthodox community in Jerusalem.

Director:

Emil Ben-Shimon

Writer:

Shlomit Nehama

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5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Evelin Hagoel ... Ettie
Igal Naor ... Zion
Orna Banai ... Tikva
Einat Saruf ... Margalit
Avraham Aviv Alush ... Rabbi David (as Aviv Alush)
Itzik Cohen ... Aaron
Yafit Asulin ... Yaffa
Sharon Elimelech ... Ora (as Sharona Elimelech)
Herzl Tobey ... Nissan
Haim Zanati
Assaf Ben-Shimon
Abraham Celektar ... (as Avraham Celektar)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ronit Ivgi ... Geula
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Storyline

A bar mitzvah mishap causes a major rift in a devout Orthodox community in Jerusalem.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

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Details

Country:

Israel

Language:

Hebrew

Release Date:

26 May 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Women's Balcony See more »

Filming Locations:

Jerusalem, Israel See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$19,650, 2 June 2017, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,200,885, 12 November 2017
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Pie Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

 
You'll have to think like an Orthodox Jewish woman in Jerusalem
12 July 2017 | by Red-125See all my reviews

The Israeli film Ismach Hatani was shown in the U.S. with the title The Women's Balcony (2016). The director was Emil Ben-Shimon. The movie begins with the collapse of the women's balcony in an Orthodox Jewish synagogue in Jerusalem. The rabbi's wife suffers head trauma and becomes comatose. The rabbi, although physically not injured, develops what is probably PTSD.

A new, young, charismatic rabbi appears to help the congregants rebuild their synagogue. Rabbi David, portrayed by Avraham Aviv Alush, is a natural leader. That, indeed, becomes the problem. Rabbi David convinces the men of the synagogue to rebuild the structure, but without a women's balcony.

A non-Orthodox Jew in the U.S. might think that this is a good thing. Why do the women need their own space? Why not just mix with the men? The reason is that--in this context--mixing with the men is unthinkable. So the women would be segregated in a small room, still away from the men, but unable to directly observe the rabbi and the male members of the congregation.

The plot really begins at this point. Do the women get their balcony, and, if so, how do they do it?

I enjoyed this film because it was well acted, well photographed, and well directed. It also gave me a glimpse into a culture that is very different from my own. This movie is one of many outstanding films shown at the remarkable Rochester International Jewish Film Festival. We watched it at the excellent Dryden Theatre, in the George Eastman Museum. It will also work well on the small screen.

Note that this film has an anemic IMDb rating of 6.8. It's better than that, and deserves your attention.


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