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Menashe (2017)Menashe (2017)

When a hapless but likable grocery clerk named Menashe is widowed, the local rabbi declares that his ten-year-old son Rieven must be placed with his strict aunt and uncle, for it's not a religiously proper family without a woman at home to take care of everyone. Menashe owes people money, his little apartment is a hovel, he has conflicts with his boss, he doesn't wear the Hasidic black hat and coat, and had an unhappy first marriage to Leah. He tenderly loves his son and wants him back ASAP, but he's also in no hurry to remarry. Set in Brooklyn's Hasidic community, this film premiered at Sundance, and after later distribution enjoyed a uniformly positive reception (96% on Rotten Tomatoes). The lead character is played by real-life grocer Menashe Lustig, who had never been in a movie theater before the Sundance premiere. The street scenes of the Hasidic section of Brooklyn, the subculture's traditions, and the music all make this an ethnographic delight, although the themes of family, religion, and a father-son relationship are universally human. In Yiddish with English subtitles.

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