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La Petite Jérusalem (Little Jerusalem) (2006)

tomatometer

69

Average Rating: 6.2/10
Critic Reviews: 16
Fresh: 11 | Rotten: 5

No consensus yet.

audience

67

liked it
Average Rating: 2.9/5
User Ratings: 8,307

My Rating

Movie Info

An orthodox Jewish teen living with her family in France attempts to balance her religious upbringing with her increasingly complex view of the outside world in director Karin Albou's incisive meditation on religion, philosophy, and the weight of romance on the mind of a growing girl. Eighteen-year-old student Laura (Fanny Valette) lives with her widowed mother (Sonia Tahar), her sister (Elsa Zylberstein), and her brother-in-law (Bruno Todeschini) in the suburban Paris neighborhood of Sarcelles.

Unrated,

Art House & International, Drama

Karin Albou

Sep 12, 2006

Kino International - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (28) | Top Critics (17) | Fresh (17) | Rotten (10) | DVD (3)

This beautiful tale of two sisters living in Sarcelles, a low-income Parisian suburb of mostly new immigrants, presents the darker side of religion while offering a candid view of an Orthodox Jewish family struggling to stay together.

September 15, 2006 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It is a story told in small moments, the camera close-up on a look, the stroke of a hand, the way a blonde thread is revealed in a husband's jacket.

May 19, 2006 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
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Anyone shopping by the ton for melodrama is well advised to browse the ample display on view in this cinematic square.

May 19, 2006 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Rich in perceptive details, Albou's film has drawn favorable comparison to the work of Claire Denis (The Intruder, Friday Night), and both directors share a sensual sensitivity to their characters' inner lives.

May 12, 2006 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
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The grand ideas are effectively integrated into a drama that relies equally upon the head, the heart and the body for inspiration.

May 6, 2006 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's very well-acted and directed, shot with great vigor, mostly in roaming closeups that plunge us right into the thick of things.

May 4, 2006 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film, which means well in its attempt to touch on Kantian philosophy, racial divides, sex and orthodoxy, and secularism versus religion, manages to insult each one of these heavy subjects by not giving any of them the serious, thoughtful attention the

August 16, 2006 Full Review Source: Bangitout.com
Bangitout.com

The background of Little Jerusalem is a grimy landscape, both physical and political, and it overwhelms the fragile exploration undertaken by the sisters. Or maybe that's the whole point.

May 19, 2006 Full Review Source: Jam! Movies
Jam! Movies

Albou is adventurous in intermixing a young woman's coming-of-age with a search for secular belief but her story is a bit shy on drama.

April 13, 2006 Full Review Source: Cinema Signals
Cinema Signals

Even though the romance angle disappoints, the story still holds interest because of the jarring cultural differences, even between the Paris-reared daughters and their superstitious Tunisian mother.

March 2, 2006 Full Review Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

The best reason to watch La Petite Jerusalem is Fanny Valette, a bona-fide beauty who brings a commitment and gravity to scenes that don't always deserve them.

January 29, 2006 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

Beautifully played by Valette and Zylberstein, and directed with amazing grace by Albou, this touching film offers a respectful, fascinating look at a community that's ignored as often as it's misunderstood.

January 27, 2006 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Albou gives a traditional plot a rich sense of detail and a sensitivity to her characters.

January 27, 2006 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

Audience Reviews for La Petite Jérusalem (Little Jerusalem)

A quiet, thoughtful examination of sexuality and freedom within a Jewish enclave in Paris. Two sisters, who live together and work at the same day care facility, explore what it means to be modest according to their religious traditions, and still express their sexual natures. The elder, Mathilde (Elsa Zylberstein), comes at her dilemma from within the bonds of marriage, to a man who has been unfaithful, and the younger, Laura, as a teenager just beginning to struggle with her urges. Beautifully filmed, with a great deal of tenderness, this proved a most satisfying film. The actors were chosen for their physical and emotional qualities, not because of their religious affiliation, and much of the success can be attributed to that. The girls' mother is played by Sonia Tahar, a non-actor, who was a Jewish mother who answered an open casting call, and was quite a force of nature. At times, this viewer found her character to be incredibly superstitious and overbearing, but the story needed a strong matriarchal anchor, and she amply provided that.
June 10, 2010
Mark Abell

Super Reviewer

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  • Little Jerusalem (La petite Jerusalem) (DE)
  • Little Jerusalem (La petite Jerusalem) (UK)
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