Award-winning Israeli film
deserves its kudos.
Special to the Jewish News
An Inconvenient Woman
In "Late Marriage," Israeli actress Ronit Elkabetz gets caught between
two generations at war on the field of matrimony.
is based on more than its graphic approach to sex.
"It's a really good story," she said, adding that the
film's allure was enhanced by the exotic nature of Tel
Aviv's Georgian community, which serves as the
omewhere in the middle of the Israeli
import Late Marriage, coming to the
In Dover Kosashvili's Late Marriage (Hatuna
Detroit Film Theatre this weekend, the
Mehuheret), Elkabetz portrays Judith, the worldly
story comes to a halt, and a 12-minute sex
34-year-old single mother who becomes the center
scene between the main characters unfolds.
of controversy and conflict between her 31-year-old
"I accepted to do the scene because it was natural,"
lover, Zaza (Lior Ashkenazi), and his traditional
said Ronit Elkabetz, one-half of that onscreen couple.
Indeed, the 37-year-old Israeli actress
His parents' insistent matchmaking
believes the film's much-talked-about passage Lior Ashkenazi,
attempts aim to marry off their embarrass-
stands out because of its realism: no shying
ingly old bachelor son to a young woman
away from anatomy — female or male — no Sapir Kugman,
— one is a 17-year-old aspiring fashion
Hollywood-stylized romance ripe with female Rivka Gur and
designer — from good stock.
exploitation. Just 12' minutes of warts-and-all Anna Feinstein
in a scene from
In addition to Elkabetz and Ashenazi, the
lovemaking, purposely shot in real time,
film — whose lighthearted tone does not
meant to convey the power — and the awk-
prepare viewers for the film's heavy, decid-
wardness — of the characters' union.
edly un-Hollywood ending — features a standout
Said critic Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-
performance by the director's mother, Lili Kosashvili,
Times: "The scene is not about passion, perform-
who portrays Zaza's devoted Old-World mother.
ance or technique, but about (listen carefully)
familiarity and affection.
"They know each other's bodies. They have a long
history of lovemaking, and you can see how little move-
Late Marriage has brought Elkabetz much acclaim,
ments and gestures are part of a shared physical history.
in spite of the frustrating reality that most Israelis
"Watching this scene, we realize that most sex
will sooner see an American or European flick before
scenes in movies play like auditions."
Elkabetz believes the popularity of the 2001 release
WOMAN on page 80
Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles
f you thought the tradition of arranged
Jewish marriages ended with Tevye's sec-
ond daughter, Dover Kosashvili has news
The Israeli director's
sneakily powerful film,
Late Marriage, is set in
an unsmiling community of Soviet Georgian
immigrants who have made only partial con-
cessions to their adopted land of Israel.
Most crucially, the older generation refuses
to concede that their assimilated children
don't appreciate the services of a matchmaker.
Indeed, the parents' attitude is so anachronis-
tic and strange that it takes the viewer a while
to accept that Late Marriage is in fact set in
Or, for that matter, to realize the film's
unexpected setting and deadpan tone aren't a
set-up for black comedy. Deceptivel); simple
in its structure and spare in its execution, this
marvelously nuanced portrait of family ties
that bind too tightly builds to a shattering
Late Marriage was named best Israeli film
of 2001 by the Israeli Film Academy.
Kosashvili took honors for best script and
best director; Marek Rosenbaum was named
best producer; and Yael Perlov won the best
editing prize. The film was the official Israeli
submission to the Academy Awards for best
foreign language film of 2001.
The film revolves around Zaza, a 31-year-
old bachelor who's pursuing though that's
much too strong a word — his doctorate in
`MARRIAGE' on page 80
Lior Ashkenazi as Zaza, "the quintessential
self-loathing Jewish underachiever; a likable
quasi-adolescent skating through life on his
charm, looks and brains."