FFF 2017 Day 5–Menasche–A Rare and Intimate Look Into the World of Hasidic Judaism

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A Rare and Intimate Look Into Hasidism

If, like me, the sum total of your knowledge of Jewish culture stems from seeing movies like Fiddler on the Roof or A Serious Man prepare yourself to be immersed into a world of Hasidic Judasim unlike anything you’ve probably ever seen before. This film, Menasche, is a gem.

According to the program, parts of this movie were filmed in secret in the midst of the orthodox Hasidic culture in New York City. It’s also the first major film in Yiddish to be made in over 70 years.

It’s a very simple story that deals with a widowed father and his desire to raise his young son despite the Hasidic tradition that dictates the son must be raised in a family with two parents.

This isn’t a movie with a lot of action, fireworks or a happy ending. The story doesn’t follow a strictly traditional arc with a beginning, middle and end. It’s what I like to refer to as a “slice of life” movie that provides a window into a world we seldom see; a man tries to navigate his way through the traditions and requirements of his culture.

Extremely well filmed and crisply directed, this movie proceeds at a gentle pace that allows the moviegoers to gradually immerse themselves, along with the protagonist, into the trials and tribulations of a single father. His struggles, despite many cultural differences, are similar to issues faced by single parents everywhere. The acting was sublime and effective.

A poignant yet delightful film that is well worth a look.

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