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August 23, 2002 - Image 80

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-08-23

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Arts 15 Entertainment

r

1 5% OFF

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1

All Take-Outs over $25

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Monday - Thursday only. One coupon per customer.
After 3:00 p.m. Not good with any other offer. Expires 9/30/02.

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`MARRIAGE'

;Buy One Dinner Get The:
1 Second Dinner 112 Off! 1

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of equal or lesser value

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Not Good With Any Other Offer. Expires 9/30/02.

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Excellent






"Late Marriage" was named best Israeli
film of 2001 by the Israeli Film Academy.
Dover Kosashvili, pictured, took honors
for best script and best director.

from page 78

patronizing their own cinema.
Israeli-made films account for only 5
percent of the 170 films screened
annually in Israel (67 percent are
American movies). That's why Late
Marriage was a phenomenon when it
attracted more than 300,000 filmgoers.
While growing up in Haifa, Elkabetz
admired the work of American actress-
es such as Bette Davis.
"When I saw her, I felt so close to
her," she said.
After serving in the Israeli army,
Elkabetz lived in Tel Aviv, where she
followed in Davis' footsteps. Her work
includes Israeli releases Milim (1996)
and Ben Gurion (1997), and the
French-made Ori gine Controlee (2000).
"I don't think there's a difference
being an actress in Israel," said
Elkabetz, while noting that Israel's
government-supported film industry
does not allow for tremendous career
or salary growth.
Perhaps that's why Elkabetz has been
molding her professional life to tran-
scend acting. She recently won a
screenwriting grant, and plans to write
and direct her own films.
Despite her relocation to Paris, where
she works in film and on stage, Elkabetz
will always act in Israeli projects.
"It's my family, it's my country," she
said. El

Late Marriage screens at the
Detroit Film Theatre, at the
Detroit Institute of Arts, 7 and
9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday
and 4 and 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug.
23-25. $6. (313) 833-3237.

from page 78

philosophy. He's the quintessential
self-loathing Jewish underachiever, a
likable quasi-adolescent skating
through life on his charm, looks and
brains (in that order, of course).
Zaza's parents schedule a parade of
meetings with prospective brides,
which he attends with varying degrees
of latent hostility and then subtly sab-
otages in various ways. Kosahvili
devotes the lengthy opening chunk of
Late Marriage to one such ritual, from
which we can extrapolate the rest.
Needless to say, Zaza will always _ be
the 'apple of his mother's eye, no mat-
ter how much he exasperates his par-
ents. But the young man has a secret
(no, he's not gay) that calls his parents'
plans for his life into question, leading
to a brutal battle of wills — he's hav-
ing a clandestine affair with a 34-year-
old Moroccan divorcee and single
mother named Judith.
Late Marriage does an exceptional
job of keeping the viewer off balance,
and to reveal more of the plot would
be criminal. Suffice it to say the "for-
eign" feeling wears off at a certain
point, and Zaza's dilemma becomes
not just understandable but universal.
To put it another way, it's not clever
plot turns that drive Late Marriage but
the steady revealing of Zaza's character.
One of the pleasures of the film, there-
fore, is watching how Kosashvili master-
fully plays with the viewer's sympathies.
The film was clearly made on a small
budoet in a handful of airless apartments.
Far from being a constraint, this bare-
bones environment works splendidly to
convey the parameters of a life where fin
and freedom have been banned.
Kosashvili further enhances Zaza's
sense of claustrophobia by employing
real-time pacing and an almost total
absence of music. He gives us a pretty
good idea of what 'Ingmar Bergman
TV sitcoms would have looked like
had he made them.
Late Marriage is, on one level, a
depiction of Zaza's life-and-death
struggle not to capitulate to his par-
ents and, by extension, to an arranged
marriage based on resentment rather
than love.
But these being Jewish characters,
there's also the tension between pursu
ing one's own course versus preserving
the culture. Choosing one inevitably
means denying the other.
Regardless of where you stand on
the matter — and whether you are a
child of a certain age or a parent —
Late Marriage will keep its hooks in
you long after the credits roll. ❑

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