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My Father My Lord

4.2 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

WINNER: BEST FILM OF 2007 (TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL)

A heartbreakingly tender (New York Times) new entry into Israel s ongoing filmmaking renaissance, My Father My Lord is an anguished, mordant sigh of a fable (New York Sun) set in the ultra-orthodox Israeli community in which writer-director Volach was raised. This astonishing debut feature (Variety) is a beautifully made film (Newsday) portraying childhood at its most transcendent and fundamentalism at its most intimately corrosive. We do everything in the Torah without asking why, Rabbi Eidelman (Assi Dayan), a pious, respected elder in a cloistered Hasidic enclave tells his wonderstruck only son Menahem (Ilan Grif). But at an age where life prompts questions increasingly outside the confines of doctrine, Menahem unwittingly runs afoul of his father s inflexibility. Mindful of her marriage vows but accepting of her son s boyish curiosity, Rabbi Eidelman s wife Esther (Sharon Hacohen Bar) is caught in the middle. A holiday at the seashore meant to reconnect the family brings the ideological rift between pre-teen boy and middle-aged man to a biblically and dramatically tragic climax. Lifting equally from the secular religiosity of Krzysztof Kieslowski s The Decalogue and the aesthetics of Jewish ritual itself (Village Voice), and profoundly compassionate toward its characters (NY Times), My Father My Lord shines with a radiance and grave grace. (Entertainment Weekly)

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Assi Dayan, Ilan Grif
  • Directors: David Volach
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Hebrew
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: KINO INTERNATIONAL
  • DVD Release Date: December 2, 2008
  • Run Time: 72 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001F3FULA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #137,275 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "My Father My Lord" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Israel Drazin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 4, 2011
Format: DVD
Benjamin Franklin wrote that to be overzealous in religion is to be non-religious. The rabbi in this film should have listened to Franklin. This is an award-wining Israeli film containing a pitiful and tragic portrayal of an overly religious Israeli Jew. It depicts the life of two loving parents and their adorable male child. The father is an inflexible pious rabbi who is convinced, and so teaches his congregation and family, that Jews must do everything that is stated in the Torah without asking why. But, unfortunately, like many pious people, he misunderstands the words and spirit of the Torah.

His world view can be seen in two of many well acted episodes. The Bible states that when a person comes across a mother bird sitting on eggs or chicks and the person wants to take the eggs or chicks, the person must first chase away the mother bird. The Bible commentators explain that this is done either to avoid hurting the feelings of the mother bird or to teach humans to be kind to one another. This rabbi misunderstands. He is convinced that the Torah obligates Jews to chase away a mother bird whenever they see her sitting by chicks, whether they want to take the chicks or not. He does this and causes unnecessary pain to the mother bird.

Another example is his sermon to his congregation where he chauvinistically and improperly teaches that God only watches and aids pious Jews, no one else. All other people, he teaches, were created to make life easy for pious Jews.

The film maker shows how his misguided understanding results in a terrible tragedy.
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Format: DVD
This Israeli import has a big theme - the price that is paid by following rigid religious beliefs. The acting in this heartbreaking drama was absolutely impeccable as we meet an Orthodox rabbi, his wife and their young son of about eight. There is love in this small family and they do not question their religious practices or beliefs. And then a tragedy occurs, and their lives are turned upside down. There were tears in my eyes as I watched this film. It felt absolutely real with the story moving quickly and the proper amount of time spent to establish their characters and their motives. I was captured from the very beginning and consider this film a small work of art.

I saw this film at the Tribecca Film festival and had the privilege of hearing the director talk about his work. All the people involved in the production were Israeli, of course, but they were not necessarily Orthodox. All the details included in the film made the story very real. And the ending raised the kind of open-ended moral question that resonated with me long after I left the theater.

I am glad the this film is finally getting wide distribution. But even if it hadn't made it, this filmmaker clearly has a gift for making films and his future looks bright. Because the film is so sad, I cannot recommend it for everyone. But I sure am glad it is now being sold on Amazon.

Highly recommended.
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Format: DVD
I have been on a roll of great and/or interesting Israeli movies (more on that later), and I picked this up, really not knowing much about the movie, other that it came highly recommended.

"My Father, My Lord" (75 min, originally released in 2007) is a slow-moving movie that portrays an ultra-Orthodox family in their daily doings. The dad is a highly-respected rabbi, the mom a complying wife. They have a young son (I'm guessing 8 yrs old or so), and much of the movie centers around how the young son experiences life growing up in an ultra-Orthodox setting. The movie builds up to a long-anticipated (by the young son) trip to the beach at the Dead Sea. And then the unthinkable happens. I wish the movie would've explored more of the aftermath, as the movie concludes too quickly for my liking.

I visited Israel this past November on a business trip, so my exposure to the Orthodox community was/has been minimal. This movie provides a great glampse into that community. I have to say that I wondered at times if the lead characters were actually actors, or real-life Orthodox persons, that's how real it felt. Despite its shortcomings (included the too-short running time), I'd recommend this movie in a heartbeat. If you are looking for other great Israeli movies in recent years, let me just mention Lemon Tree, Or My Treasure, Free Zone, Tehilim, For My Father, Seven Minutes in Heaven, and of course last Fall's theatrical release Lebanon.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Let's get the nuts and bolts out of the way first: Great film; stellar acting by all of the principals along with outstanding direction and cinematography; slow but engaging (though it helps to have some preexisting knowledge of traditional Jewish observance or at least a solid interest in the subject); sad with a capital "s"; and, perhaps most frustrating to some viewers, unwilling to hit its audience over the head with an obvious message.

NB: The following contains spoilers, though as few as possible.

Viewers who see or expect to see some kind of systematic attack on Charedi (or Ultra-Orthodox) Judaism in this film are projecting their own agendas onto it. The movie is, in fact, a tremendously affectionate reflection on growing up Charedi in Israel. The affection is evident in the lovely relationship that Menachem has with his parents (please don't try to use the scene with the photograph as a counter argument; surely even the happiest, best adjusted among us were at one point pressured into doing something we didn't want to by our parents) and the general happiness and cheerfulness that Menachem gives off as he goes about his day. Many have tried to blame what happens to Menachem at the end of the film on his father's piety; the worst I think it's fair to do is blame it on a very common lapse in judgment that usually (though not in this case) results in no harm to anyone.

This isn't to say that the film endorses the Charedi way of life, either. The point it makes is more subtle: the film is a meditation on why, ultimately, this community was not one in which Volach could fit. The answer to why is that this community's vision of the world (it's "hashkafa" in Jewish terms) is too narrow and constraining for someone like Menachem (and, by extension, Volach).
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