Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Zoe Lister-Jones, Francis Benhamou, Marcia Jean Kurtz, John Rothman, Mimi Lieber
Director: Diane Crespo;Stefan C. Schaefer
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
Rochel is an Orthodox Jew, and Nasira a Muslim of Syrian origin. They are both young teachers at a public school in Brooklyn. They also have something else in common--they are going though the process of arranged marriages... more »
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Brian E. Erland | Brea, CA - USA | 01/12/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Synopsis: The '07 independent film `Arranged' is a thoroughly entertaining albeit simplistic story concerning two new elementary school teachers working in one of the poorer quarters of New York City. Both are from highly structured, orthodox religious traditions. Rochel Meshenberg (Zoe Lister-Jones) is Jewish while Nisira Khaldi (Francis Benhamou) is Muslim. When a student brings up the topic of religious hatred between these two spiritual traditions the question is posited, "Is it possible for the two to become friends?"
As you probably guessed, that's exactly what happens despite the rather obvious disapproval displayed by their families. When Rochel and Nisira learn that both sets of parents are actively seeking arranged marriages for their daughters they discover they have more in common than they ever thought they would. Relying on each other for strength and support through the trials and tribulations of submitting to the customs of their religious traditions they find a friendship that transcends cultural differences.
Critique: `Arranged' held my complete interest from beginning to end. The relationship between Rochel and Nisira is beautifully and thoughtfully presented and totally believable. Some of the Jewish stereotypes are straight out of `Fiddler on the Roof' but other than that it's hard to find any fault here. I enjoyed every minute!"
A Great Movie - And Accurate Too
Aaron Huber | Coral Springs, FL | 04/07/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I thought that this was a very well done film. It was nice and simplistic, and didn't resort to steriotypical portrayals of Jews and Muslims. As an Orthodox Jew, I was happy to see an accurate portrayal of the Othodox community. Anyone who is an "insider" will really appreciate the humor of this movie, and I would highly reccomend it to people of all faiths."
A heartwarming tale of an unlikely friendship
z hayes | TX | 02/20/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Arranged" is a delightful tale of a friendship that develops between a traditional Muslim, Nasira [Francis Benhamou] and an Orthodox Jew,Rochel [Zoe Lister Jones] who both teach at a Brooklyn school. A class session raises the question from one of the students :How can a Jew be friends with a Muslim? and this sets the stage for the two women to come together and eventually form a close friendship.
Both Nasira and Rochel are from very traditional backgrounds and though their faiths set them apart from each other, it is also the strictures required by those faiths that bring them together and help them commisserate with each other - they are both in the process of being matchmade by their respective families to 'suitable' young men from their own religious backgrounds. Nasira balks at one of the suitors her father brings forth and Rochel finds herself being put in awkward 'blind dates' by her well-meaning but clueless aunt.
Yes, there are some sappy bits in this movie, but the portrayal of tradition is very credibly done, and the strong acting by the two female leads elevates this movie from just another social commentary. Having come from a very traditional family myself, I can relate to the emotional conflicts these girls go through, and though I rejected the pressures placed upon me, I can also understand and respect why these two young women chose to keep to their traditions and appease their parents. It doesn't mean that they are weak, its ultimately their choice.
This is a subtle and well-directed movie that often elicited smiles and tears as I sat through it. Highly recommended!
A nice alternative to the mainstream movies
Wanda Grant | elizabeth, nj | 12/20/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I can see why this movie would never become a blockbuster hit considering the taste of mainstream america. I search for movies with substance and this movie definately hits the mark. I do not belong to either culture but can easily relate to the pressure both women, Rochel and Nasira were going through with the American society and their families. I also applauded the fact that the two women CHOSE to embrace their cultures and follow tradition with the arranged marriage. They did not settle but held out for men who they felt true compatibility with. This was an excellent film!"