Video Picks Archive
Reviews by Matt Heffernan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This week my picks are Kadosh (1999 - ) and Life of Brian (1979 - ).
The first film this week comes from Israel, where film is thriving despite
the country's endless political turmoil. Kadosh (Hebrew for "sacred")
tells the story of two Hasidic sisters: Rivka (Yaël Abecassis) and
Malka (Meital Barda). Rivka has had a loving 10-year marriage to
Meïr (Yoram Hattab), but she has failed to have any children. According to
their strict traditions, Meïr has to get a new, more fertile wife (even though
he may be the one who is infertile). Malka, meanwhile, is about to enter an
arranged marriage to an unlikeable, violent man, even though she is in love
with a singer. Director Amos Gitai allows the film to develop slowly,
lending a documentary realism to the character development. The resulting
dramatic payoff is even more devastating since the characters have been drawn
so completely. It was one of the best films that I saw this year, however
it would have to count as a 1999 film, so putting it on any list is
now, unfortunately, impossible.
After the massive emotional impact of Kadosh, one may need a more lighthearted story about the Holy Land. The second film is the Monty Python troupe' follow-up to their acclaimed feature debut, Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Life of Brian tells the story about a young man (Graham Chapman) who was born on the same day as Jesus Christ. One may think that this film is a satire of religion, but the real target here is politics. On one end, you have the Romans, who represent the wealthy class of conservatives. Then you have the resistance groups, who represent the fractured left wing. This conflict is parodied with the typical Python wit, filled with absurd anachronisms and brilliantly written scenes. While most fans prefer The Holy Grail, Life of Brian's coherent story makes it more enjoyable for mainstream audiences. The Criterion Collection has released a wonderful DVD containing a behind-the-scenes documentary, deleted footage, and two commentary tracks by the surviving Pythons: one by Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, and Terry Jones (who also directed), and the other by John Cleese and Michael Palin.
For more information, visit the Internet Movie Database:
Life of Brian (1979)
Guide to Star Ratings
Capsule Reviews © 2000 Matt Heffernan