Video Picks Archive

December 6, 2000
This Week's Video Picks
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Reviews by Matt Heffernan <>

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 (Yal Abecassis) and Malka (Meital Barda). Rivka has had a loving 10-year marriage to Mer (Yoram Hattab), but she has failed to have any children. According to their strict traditions, Mer 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.
Full review from February 20, 2000

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:
Kadosh (1999)
Life of Brian (1979)

Here's some merchandise for sale at
Kadosh (1999) -- VHS
Kadosh (1999) -- DVD
Life of Brian (1979) -- VHS
Life of Brian (1979) -- VHS Widescreen
Life of Brian (1979) -- DVD
Monty Python's Life Of Brian: Soundtrack -- Compact Disc Home
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