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Religion and tradition continue to determine everyday life in the Orthodox Jewish neighbourhood of Borough Park, Brooklyn. The eponymous hero’s appearance alone makes him stand out. His ten-year-old son Rieven asks why he doesn’t wear the same tall black hat and black coat as the other men. And Menashe even tucks his side locks behind his ears so they’re hardly visible. The young widower keeps straying from the designated path. The community wants him to remarry as fast as possible. But he can’t imagine a future with another woman and snubs all the prospective brides sent his way. Since he doesn’t earn enough money and is unable to run his household on his own, an uncle decides to take over the job of raising Menashe’s son. Our awkward hero comes off like an orthodox version of a typical Woody Allen character or an unorthodox rendering of the biblical Job. Menashe develops his own worldly wisdoms, yet keeps attracting misfortune. Both the film’s drama and its humour emerge from precisely observed details of the strict rules governing Hasidic life. Failing to properly prepare the traditional kugel can thus end in true catastrophe. (Anke Leweke)

Production: Shtick Film, New York; Maiden Voyage, San Francisco; Where's Eve, New York; Sparks Productions, New York; Autumn Productions, Toronto; Green Productions, Tel Aviv
Screenplay: Joshua Z Weinstein, Alex Lipschultz, Musa Syeed
Camera: Yoni Brook, Joshua Z Weinstein
Cast: Menashe Lustig, Ruben Niborski
Running time: 81 min
Languages: Yiddish, English

Photo: © Federica Valabrega

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media
  • Logo des Programms NeuStart Kultur