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By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Directed by Amos Gitai
KinoVideo 02/00 DVD/VHS Feature Film
This incredibly insightful Israeli film directed by Amos Gitai is set in the Mea Shearim quarter of Jerusalem, a section of the city inhabited by ultra-Orthodox Jews. Meir, a dedicated Torah scholar, arises each day to perform a series of ritualized prayers and devotional acts. His wife of ten years, Rivka, gets up to greet him with glistening eyes. She has been crying in the night over her infertility. After ten years of marriage, they have no child. Once a brilliant scholar, Meir cannot concentrate on his studies. He is shamed in the Orthodox community where the belief is that a man who dies without progeny rips a page out of the Torah.
Rivka's younger sister Malka has an even bigger problem. She has been ordered by her rabbi to marry Yossef, a rigorous member of the yeshiva. Her lover Yaakov has left the community to become a rock singer. Although she goes through with the arranged marriage, her anger increases when she realizes the depth and breadth of the chauvinism in her future. Her heart goes out to Rivka when Meir is order to abandon her and marry a younger woman.
Kadosh is a serious and sensitive drama that is beautifully acted by Yael Abecassis as Rivka, Yoram Hattab as Meir, and Meital Barda as Malka. We are drawn into their strict religious universe where tradition, rules, and regulations leave little room for individuality or the yearnings of the heart. The insulated world of the Orthodox and their avid hatred of the "godless" world of "the others" are vividly conveyed. Another movie that covers the same subject, only from the Muslim cultural perspective, is Leila.
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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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