Ushpizin

"OK"

Ushpizin Review


Ushpizin profiles the spiritual struggles of a loving Orthodox Jewish couple (real-life husband and wife Shuli Rand and Michal Bat Sheva Rand) in present day Jerusalem and whether God has any value in the modern world. Those issues are properly answered; the film's relevance is questionable.

Moshe (Rand) and Malli (Bat Sheva Rand) are struggling. There's no money, the rent is late, and they can't properly celebrate the festive holiday of Succoth. After some fierce praying and an anonymous donation, the couple can celebrate the holiday properly but their faith is soon tested again.

Two prisoners on furlough escape to Jerusalem, where one of the prisoners knows Moshe and decides to pay a visit. Moshe and Malli -- unaware of their visitors' prior residence--are initially happy to have guests for the Succoth. That joy turns to frustration when the slovenly, rude duo takes advantage of their hosts' hospitality, so much so that Malli and Moshe's marriage and religious faith cracks. "I don't want to be angry, God Almighty," Moshe screams to the sky during his weakest moment.

Director Giddi Dar and screenwriter Shuli Rand provide resolutions after much tumult for the couple, which is where Ushpizin is strongest. They don't provide an answer as to why we should care about Moshe and Malli, or why they believe in the Orthodox way of life. Without the proper context, Ushpizin serves as a parable we've heard before, though the scenery and religion may be different. A look at the movie's website reveals where things may have unraveled, declaring Ushpizin to be "the first film made by members of the ultra-Orthodox community in collaboration with secular filmmakers and aimed at secular audiences."

Uh oh.

I'm all for understanding other cultures through film, just not the way it's done here, where we get a glossary to Orthodox life without anyone bothering to define the intentions and passions of the characters. Think of it another way. What if the outstanding documentary Murderball focused just on the rules and history of wheelchair rugby but ignored the players and their fierce attachment to the game, as well as their redemption through it? Is that a movie you'd get any emotional satisfaction from? Is that a movie that would change your mind about millions of people?

Ushpizin has educational value, but it's the wrong kind. We learn about the value of the citron and what a mikveh is. That is not information that will make an audience care or reap the kind of enlightenment the filmmakers think they're espousing.

Aka Ha-Ushpizin.



Ushpizin

Facts and Figures

Run time: 90 mins

In Theaters: Sunday 1st August 2004

Box Office USA: $1.4M

Distributed by: Picturehouse

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Fresh: 57 Rotten: 4

IMDB: 7.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Gidi Dar

Producer: Rafe Bukaee

Starring: Shuli Rand as Moshe, Michal Bat-Sheva Rand as Malli Bellanga, Shaul Mizrahi as Eliyahu Scorpio, Ilan Ganani as Yossef

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Free State of Jones Movie Review

Free State of Jones Movie Review

Since its true story is still so timely after some 150 years, we can forgive...

Deepwater Horizon Movie Review

Deepwater Horizon Movie Review

This reunion of actor Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg feels like a natural successor...

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Movie Review

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Movie Review

Ransom Riggs' bestselling novel is appropriately adapted into a movie by Tim Burton, the gothic...

Get Back Movie Review

Get Back Movie Review

Roger Appleton's documentary 'Get Back' looks into the music scene that come out of Liverpool....

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Advertisement
Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.