A sold out highlight of Manhattan’s TriBeCa Film Fest this week is DISOBEDIENCE, as adapted and directed by Oscar winning, South American filmmaker Sebastián Lelio. It is adapted from a novel by Naomi Alderman, which had been optioned by the lead actress: Rachel Weisz.
DISOBEDIENCE is a passionate, romantic story about the complicated desires of an Orthodox Jewish family in London, that takes place over seven days.
Ronit Krushka (Rachel Weisz) is happily living in New York City, necessarily estranged from her London family, which banished her. When she learns that her father, the beloved Rav Krashka (Anton Lesser), has passed away, Ronit returns to the North London Orthodox Jewish community to pay her final respects and for the shiva. She learns that her cousin, Rabbi Dovid Kuperman (Alessandro Nivola), who was her father’s favorite student, is her father’s spiritual heir apparent in the community. Dovid is also married to Ronit’s former girlfriend, Esti (Rachel McAdams), who we learn has married and suppressed her true desires in order to maintain her place in and her love of the Orthodox Jewish community. Dovid and Esti have a good, positive, and loving relationship, just no orgasmic freedom.
It is not long after (or during) the Shabbat dinner that the love, lust, and desire between Esti and Ronit are rekindled… and Dovid gets intensely stressed and will do anything to keep Esti. Ronit and Esti are like one single person split into halves: one half chose to leave – perhaps not as easily as one would expect; and one half chose to stay.
DISOBEDIENCE opens theatrically on April 27 in New York and Los Angeles, and in other cities, including Boston and Washington DC the next weekend. It is distributed by Bleeker Street Films.
Three other films of note are: “DEAD WOMEN WALKING” by Hagar Ben-Asher; “VIRGINS” by Keren Ben Rafael; and “TO DUST” by Shawn Snyder.
DEAD WOMEN WALKING contains nine vignettes, following the final days of a series of women on death row, awaiting potential execution.
Hagar Ben-Asher is a graduate of the Minshar School of Art.
VIRGINS by Keren Ben Rafael is a narrative about Lana, a teenager in Kiryat Yam. She hopes t oone day move to Tel Aviv and escape her duties, family, and boredom. When Tchipi, a writer, shows up, a flame is kindled. He spins a local myth into a news report of a mermaid sighting offshore — bringing people back to the city’s beaches. mermaidmania might help her mther’s cafe. Ben-Rafael is a graudate of Tel Aviv University
TO DUST is an absurd tale and buddy-comedy about a Hasidic widower consumed with grief. He entices Albert, a local biology teacher (played by Matthew Broderick) on a quixotic quest to understand how his late wife’s body is decomposing (by watching animals and criminals). Shmuel is a cantor (played by Geza Rohrig, who you may recall from “Son of Saul”)