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Ushpizin (2005)

Cast: Shuli Rand, Shuli Rand, Michal Bat Sheva Rand, more...
Director: Gidi Dar, Gidi Dar
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: New Line Home Video
Genre: Drama, Foreign, Israel
Running Time: 92 min.
Subtitles: English, Spanish
    see additional details...

The insular world of Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem comes to the screen (with their blessings) in this warm comedy drama. Moshe (Shuli Rand) was once a secular Jew, but he rediscovered his faith and became an ultra-Orthodox Jew, and with his wife, Mali (Michal Bat Sheva Rand), he struggles to support their family. With the harvest festival of Sukkot around the corner, Moshe is broke, and asks for help from a yeshiva charitable fund. Moshe is told the fund has been depleted, and he and Mali are left with no options but to pray for a miracle. To their surprise, the next day they're informed some money was found in the fund after all, and they are given 1,000 dollars; Moshe and Mali believe this is the miracle they asked for, and they joyously make plans to build a sukkah, a gazebo-like structure where Orthodox Jews entertain guests and serve their meals. Just as he completes the new sukkah, Moshe is surprised by the unexpected arrival of Eliahu (Shaul Mizrahi) and Yosef (Ilan Gannai), two old friends from his restless days before he embraced his current faith. Imagining the Lord has sent him guests as part of the miracle, Moshe takes in his old pals and tries to make peace with their rambunctious ways, but what he doesn't know is that the two are on the run from the law, having recently escaped from jail. Ushpizin was scripted by leading man Shuli Rand, who is in real life an ultra-Orthodox Jew and demanded a number of conditions before agreeing to participate in the making of the film (such as the producers agreeing to never show the picture on the Sabbath). ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

Ushpizin, screened as part of 2005's San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, and was something of a phenomenon in Israel, a film about Hasidim, starring Hasidim - who rarely, if ever, see movies themselves. In an exclusive interview for GreenCine, self-taught director Gidi Dar talks about how his seemingly impossible film got made. Full Article >>

GreenCine Member Reviews

Feh! by talltale April 4, 2006 - 9:07 PM PDT
1 out of 2 members found this review helpful
Basically a one-note, two-incident fable-like tale, USHPIZIN comes loaded with critical praise. Maybe if I were a "believer," the movie might have gone down more easily. Performed by two leading Israeli actors married to each other (who are fine, as far as they're allowed to go), the movie isn't bad. It's just slow, obvious and surprise-free. But since it's one of those much-feted films among the intelligentsia that becomes a must-see, I'll guess you'll just have to. Don't say you weren't warned.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.00)
21 Votes
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