Little Jerusalem (2006)
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Critic Reviews for Little Jerusalem
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.
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.
Anyone shopping by the ton for melodrama is well advised to browse the ample display on view in this cinematic square.
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.
The grand ideas are effectively integrated into a drama that relies equally upon the head, the heart and the body for inspiration.
Audience Reviews for 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.
This is an excellent cultural snapshot and has a near archetypal presentation of the Sephardi French Jewish mother. Very good sense of Jewish family issues, a quite good insider/outsider look besides being a good drama.
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