Arts & Entertainment
British writer/director draws on her own life for a
movie about a two-decade friendship.
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back to the time when she was 11 and
enrolled in a school with a Jewish
quota. She and Tasha were among the
seven Jewish girls permitted per class.
n the lushly lit opening
"We were called 'Jewesses, — says
sequence of Sandra
Goldbacher, whose 1998 debut film,
Goldbacher's new film, Me
The Governess, starred Minnie Driver
Without You, two 11-year-old
girls, one Jewish, one not, make a pact as an 1840s Sephardic woman who
feels as if the word "Jewess" is embla-
to be friends forever.
zoned on her forehead.
They solemnly scribble a
"We were shuttled off to sep-
note, "Holly and Marina
arate assemblies. We felt rather
equals Harina; now we two are
leprous, which made us want
one," then stuff it in an empty
to stick together."
Charlie perfume bottle and
Goldbacher stuck together
bury it in the garden. The
with Tasha, "the one per-
buoyant comedy-drama traces
their overly intense, ultimately
world into a thrilling, magical
from 1973 to the present.
She remembers "the gig-
It's a loosely autobiographi-
gling, knicker-wetting hyste-
cal film for Goldbacher, who
ria of pinching makeup and
says she wanted to explore the
into other people's hand-
kind of "intoxicating, mercurial,
shrieking down the
almost addictive friendship" common
street from people we pretended were
among young girls.
out to white-slave us.
"I myself had a furiously intense
"Tasha certainly tried to poison me
best friendship from 11 to 17," the
against boys I might have liked,
41-year-old Jewish Brit says by tele-
because they threatened our friend-
phone from London. "It's haunted me
ship," the director says. "The Siamese
like a specter. I dreamt of Tasha con-
twin-like bond with your best friend is
stantly though I hadn't seen her in 20
so seductive it's hard to relinquish. But
years. I was hoping the movie might
I knew that if we didn't, I wouldn't be
exorcise a few ghosts."
able to bond with other people."
Writing the film took Goldbacher
Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles
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is the 1970s, and young Holly
dreams of the glamorous adult
life that will no doubt be hers
beyond her parents' sedate
Jewish home in London.
It's not that they don't
love her; on the contrary,
they're chronically overprotective.
But even as they're pushing Holly
to aim high, her mother has a con-
fidence-draining habit of letting slip
how mousy she thinks Holly is.
Clever is good, she tells Holly, but
pretty is better.
And pretty is Holly's best friend
and next-door neighbor, Marina.
Me Without You, the latest film
from British Jewish director Sandra
Goldbacher, traces Holly and
Marina's intense and tumultuous
friendship across two decades.
Goldbacher wrote the screenplay
and drew on her own adolescence in
depicting Holly's family life. A spe-
cific and familiar portrait of Jewish
life in Britain emerges — -
although it's not commented
Within the walls of their •
home, Holly and her parents are
observant Jews. They sit down to a
Shabbat meal every Friday night,
complete with candles and challah.
But to the outside world, they're fully
assimilated and British to the core.
So its rio surprise that Holly
always feels like an outsider, never
quite fathoming how most people
manage to be happy in their hum-
drum lives. She's going to be a writer
of some sort, and make a difference.
That is, unless her crush on Marina's