Ushpizin Ushpizin stands on its own considerable charms as the droll fairy-tale story — or is it a biblical parable? — of a poor and childless… Ushpizin Ushpizin stands on its own considerable charms as the droll fairy-tale story — or is it a biblical parable? — of a poor and childless… 2005-10-19 PG-13 PT90M Drama Foreign Language Shuli Rand Picturehouse
Movie Review

Ushpizin (2005)

MPAA Rating: PG-13
Shuli Rand, Ushpizin | THIS FOREST IS NOT KOSHER! Guess who's coming to our Orthodox Jewish dinner? Prisoners
THIS FOREST IS NOT KOSHER! Guess who's coming to our Orthodox Jewish dinner? Prisoners
EW's GRADE
B+

Details Limited Release: Oct 19, 2005; Rated: PG-13; Length: 90 Minutes; Genres: Drama, Foreign Language; With: Shuli Rand; Distributor: Picturehouse

Ushpizin stands on its own considerable charms as the droll fairy-tale story — or is it a biblical parable? — of a poor and childless ultra-Orthodox couple in modern Jerusalem who invite a couple of strangers — secular prison escapees, it turns out — to their dinner table during the Jewish festival of Sukkoth, and are blessed in return. (The title is Aramaic for ''holy guests.'')

Background knowledge adds, though, to the pleasure of Gidi Dar's warm and compassionate drama. Shuli Rand, who stars, was himself a well-known secular Israeli actor who performed in two of Dar's films before he was drawn to religious observance and gave up acting. Ushpizin became the means by which the two friends could work together again, a collaborative story respectful to believers, shot among actual ultra-Orthodox adherents. The unusual intimacy and authenticity can't be faked: The cast is peppered with nonprofessionals, most notably Michal Bat Sheva Rand, in a vivacious on-screen interpretation of her real life as Rand's modest wife.

Originally posted Nov 02, 2005 Published in issue #849 Nov 11, 2005 Order article reprints
Advertisement

From Our Partners