Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Menashe | Official Trailer

    I saw this movie last night at the Angelika. I don't think that I have ever seen so many religious Jews at a movie theater  since the Kingsway on Kingshighway closed.   I would say that a good 75 percent of the audience was  frum.
       After the screening  there was a  q&a with the director Josh Weinstein and the lead actor Menashe Lustig. It was a very special event. Weinstein wrote this movie as a slice of life . He also knew that no matter what there would be a L'ag B'Omer scene. Most of the actors in the film had never been in a film before and had never been to a movie theater to see a film.
        Menashe is a film about a father who does not have custody of his son after his wife dies. His rabbi wants him to be married before allowing his son to live with him . I found it refreshing to see a film where the man is the one who has the custody challenge .
      This movie is slow moving but worth watching until the end. I loved the ending. I will not spoil the movie by giving away the ending. You will have to go see it yourself and then we can discuss it.
        It was nice to see an authentic movie about Hasidim that was not about the typical topics. It wasn't about misogyny toward women or about people going off the derech.  This of course is thanks to a director who wanted to tell a story that was close to the heart of the actors so it would be easier for them to portray. Menashe in real life was widowed and has a child who does not live with him. This film is not his real story, just his real nisayon.
         I think that one can sense that moshiach is on the way when a film like this can be made by non orthodox Jews who have a real respect for observant Jews and feel that their story is worth being told as a universal story. Sure this was filmed in Boro Park with Hasidim, but the fact they they were Hasidic was not the novelty, the father-son bond was. The beauty was how a less observant Jew could see this and want to show it to the world.
     Weinstein was able to sift through the "otherness" of Hasidim and create a universal story. The result is breathtaking. Its a beautiful story worth seeing.

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