When the older sister of Shira, an 18-year-old Hasidic Israeli, dies suddenly in childbirth, Shira must decide if she can and should marry her widowed brother-in-law, which also generates tensions within her extended family.
Past Life tracks the daring late 1970s odyssey of two sisters - an introverted classical musician and a rambunctious scandal sheet journalist - as they unravel a shocking wartime mystery that has cast a dark shadow on their entire lives.
When Eyal finishes the week of mourning for his late son, his wife urges him to return to their routine but instead he gets high with a young neighbor and sets out to discover that there ... See full summary »
The film premiered at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival in the Horizons section. It won the Best Actress award in the category Israeli Feature Films at the Haifa International Film Festival 2016. See more »
You actually give the impression of being a sane man.
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The misadventures of dating in the Orthodox-Jewish community
"The Wedding Plan" (2016 release from Israel; 110 min>) brings the story of Michal, a young woman who happens to be an Orthodox Jew. As the movie opens, we see Michal consulting a fortune teller on what she needs to do to find a suitable man to marry, having tried for over a decade (we later learn she's had 123 dates over that span). In the very next scene, we see her with her fiancé (hurray!), who admits he doesn't love her (boo!). Michal is devastated. But in a whim, she decides to rent the wedding hall big enough to accommodate 200 people, and fix the wedding day on the 8th night of Hannukah, exactly 22 days later. She has a wedding hall, a wedding dress and not the only thing left is to find a groom. At this point we're less than 15 min. into the movie. Will Michal find her man? To tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this is the second feature-length movie from writer-director Rama Burshtein. A few years ago, she surprised us all with her debut film, the exquisite "Fill the Void", which also was set in the Orthodox-Jewish community in Jerusalem.and also dealing with the theme of marriage, but in a very different way. In a way, the movie could be called "The Misadventures of Dating in the Orthodox-Jewish Community", and there are some funny moments for sure, although I wouldn't call this movie an outright comedy. The movie is helped tremendously by the charming performance of Noa Kole as Michal. She appears in virtually every frame of the movie. The movie tends to lag a bit in the middle part, and probably could've benefited from some tighter editing and shortening its run by about 15 min. I was already in my mind ready to give this a 5/10 rating, but then we come to the movie's outstanding concluding 15 min. It is an emotional wallop which I did not see coming. That's all I will say about it (mustn't spoil!!).
"The Wedding Plan" opened recently at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati (same one where I saw "Fill the Void"). The Wednesday early evening screening where I saw this at was attended so-so (less than 10 people in the theater), I'm guessing the nice weather and being a weekday evening had to do with that. If you are in the mood for a foreign film that shines light on life in the Orthodox-Jewish community with mostly a light touch, I readily recommend you check out "The Wedding Plan", be it in the theater, on VOD or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray.
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