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My Father My Lord
My Father My Lord
Actors: Assi Dayan, Ilan Grif
Director: David Volach
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Special Interests
UR     2008     1hr 12min

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)...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Assi Dayan, Ilan Grif
Director: David Volach
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Special Interests
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Religion, Family Life, Religion & Spirituality
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 12/02/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/2007
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2007
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 12min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: Hebrew
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Interesting. Wiffle softball attack on ultra-orthodxy
Hunter Gavin | 04/20/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This movie was recommended to me as one that is highly critical of Orthodox Judaism. One thing is for sure, the criticism is very subtle, and this might be the lamest softball attack on the ultra-orthodox world that I have seen or read.

The interaction of the three main characters (Rabbi, wife, and son) is absolutely beautiful, incredible. This movie to me is an advertisement for having a religious family. If David Volach told me this was his secret motive of the film, I would believe him.

A 9-10 year old kid is not equipped to deal with the deeper philosophical questions in life. No father whether he was Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, or Muslim would rock the boat and open up a venue for religious debate with his young, fragile, impressionable young boy. Suicide bombing is not a problem in the Jewish world, so parents can usually count on having these deeper, philosophical discussions about the meaning of life with their children after the ages of 17-18.

The scene where the son is put in a position to possibly drown is a very, very hard sell. It is very hard to believe that a rabbi is going to leave his son unattended in such a way. Even if this was a true story, it is disingenuous to project the actions of one errant father on the entire ultra-orthodox community.

It is also hard to believe that it would take 5 minutes for a kid to put on his sandle, whereby the father would lose patience and go pray on his own. Thus leaving an opening for the young boy to hop in the Dead Sea completely by himself and drown (a sea that everyone floats on).

The director clearly has an axe to grind with the Jewish People, specifically the ultra-orthodox world.

I think anyone who finds this movie to be a strong attack on the ultra-orthodoxy should reexamine their prejudices, cultural understanding and historical knowledge of the Jewish People.

If someone is going to criticize religion, at least do so with real ammunition (e.g. Richard Dawkins, Karen Armstrong, or Christopher Hitchens). Dawkins specifically fires live ammunition with his rabid Atheism. Volach's attempt amounted to throwing wiffle softballs at best.

Lastly, it is offensive that anyone would think a dog, a cat, or any other animal is equivalent to a human being. I am an animal lover, but they clearly are not living with the same level of intelligence, self-control, and Divine purpose as human beings.

I personally know very little about the Jewish faith, but it seems peculiar that Volach did not elaborate on the well-known fact that Judaism believes animals do in fact have souls, a nefesh. Humans have an animal soul (nefesh) and a human soul (neshama). This was a major omission, but did not fit into Volach's agenda.

I give this movie three stars for its accurate portrayal of the beauty and sanctity of Jewish religious life."
Awakening to Life
Amos Lassen | Little Rock, Arkansas | 01/31/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

""My Father, My Lord" ("Hofshat Kaits")

Awakening to Life

Amos Lassen

Rabbi Avrohom (Assaf Dayan) is a middle-aged conceited sage in Jerusalem's religiously Jewish community. He is married to Esther who looks upon their son Menachem with great favor. The family is close and the lives of the members seem to be full of bliss. Avrohom, however, spends all of his time in prayer and study and has little time for his wife and son.
What the film gives us is a look at the conflict and tension between old and new but in terms of religion as it shows the differences between modern Orthodoxy and ultraorthodox Judaism. By implication, the film is also a critique between Islam and the West. Director David Volach critiques the ultra-religious and he does so sublimely and with balance. He himself is one who had been raised in that lifestyle but left it. He gives us the observance of life in all of its detail as it rips apart fundamentalist Judaism. It is almost a replay of the Abraham and Isaac story in the Old Testament. Reb Avrohom, like the patriarch Abraham, dedicated his life to the service of God. He does not question he just acts in accordance with the holy books. He spends his time when he is not at prayer reading Biblical commentary and Jewish law. He is a kind and caring men whose life is based on the idea that nothing is more important than prayer and observance of the word of God. Esther is also religious but not as doctrinaire as he husband and she gives off an aura of goodness.
Menachem is afraid of his father and fascinated by the secular world. He is more interested in the doves outside his window at school than his schoolwork. He questions the concept of souls and wonders why animals are without them. Esther protects him but he pulls back from his father. When his father suggests they take a trip to the Dead Sea, Menachem is eager to go. Is it like Abraham taking his son to be sacrificed or is it something else? Why do they go to the Dead Sea where Sodom and Gomorrah once stood? Surely it is easy to see the meanings and comparisons here. At only 73 minutes the film is very strong and the film, to me, at least, is a cry against fundamentalist adherence to the holy works rather than attempting to live in the real world and using their spirituality to help the unfortunate rather than to condemn those who do not see things their way.
A small work of art that will resonate long after the end of
Linda Linguvic | New York City | 11/22/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"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.