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La Petite Jerusalem (2006) It would be hard to imagine a filmmaking style as serious yet lazy as the earnest vérité bobbing and weaving employed by La Petite Jérusalem… 2006-01-25 Unrated PT96M Drama Foreign Language Fanny Valette Ocean Films
Movie Review

La Petite Jerusalem (2006)

MPAA Rating: Unrated

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NICE FANNY A pair of beautiful French sisters muse and mope about life
NICE FANNY A pair of beautiful French sisters muse and mope about life
EW's GRADE
C

Details Limited Release: Jan 25, 2006; Rated: Unrated; Length: 96 Minutes; Genres: Drama, Foreign Language; With: Fanny Valette; Distributor: Ocean Films

It would be hard to imagine a filmmaking style as serious yet lazy as the earnest vérité bobbing and weaving employed by La Petite Jérusalem. Shooting in the Paris suburb of Sarcelles, in a concrete housing project known as Little Jerusalem, the writer-director Karin Albou pushes her camera up close to her actors, creating a superficial intimacy, yet there's no framing or shaping, no perspective. Would it have killed her to organize a master shot? The handheld moodiness implies that something ineffable is going on, but La Petite Jérusalem features the most dated of dilemmas. Laura (Fanny Valette), a tranquil beauty alienated from her Algerian Jewish family, thinks love is a fraud — the enemy of noble thought — and the movie indulges her naïveté as if it were something more than arrested dithering.

Meanwhile, her older sister (Elsa Zylberstein), stuck in a troubled marriage, believes that the Torah forbids women's sexual pleasure. Her liberation is très 1972, but back then, at least, this movie might have been made in a way that invited you into the personalities of its actors.

Originally posted Feb 01, 2006 Published in issue #862-863 Feb 10, 2006 Order article reprints