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My Father My Lord (2008) My Father My Lord is a short film, barely 70 minutes — and every minute shines with a radiance and grave grace that, in a… 2008-03-11 Unrated PT73M Drama Assi Dayan Sharon Hacohen-Bar
Movie Review

My Father My Lord (2008)

MPAA Rating: Unrated

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Assi Dayan, My Father My Lord | FAMILY TIES The son of a rabbi (Assi Dayan, pictured) struggles with issues of religion and independence in My Father My Lord
Image credit: Gil Sassower
FAMILY TIES The son of a rabbi (Assi Dayan, pictured) struggles with issues of religion and independence in My Father My Lord
EW's GRADE
A

Details Limited Release: Mar 11, 2008; Rated: Unrated; Length: 73 Minutes; Genre: Drama; With: Assi Dayan

My Father My Lord is a short film, barely 70 minutes — and every minute shines with a radiance and grave grace that, in a perfect, movie-loving world, ought to extend the reach of David Volach's shimmering feature debut far beyond the confines of a special-interest audience. The profoundly challenging biblical story of Abraham and Isaac — and the sacrifices a father stands ready to make in the name of faith — frames Volach's unobtrusively powerful story of a rabbi (acclaimed Assi Dayan, who played the shrink in the original Israeli version of In Treatment) and his young son (beatific newcomer Ilan Griff). The boy loves his studious father, his intuitive mother (Sharon Hacohen Bar), and the intricacies of ritual and Torah, but he also loves birds, dogs, new things, and a wider, more elemental world than what his father's fervent religion can embrace. To describe more would be a sin.

Volach has a protective but unsentimental understanding of how the universe looks to a kid; he also conveys the tensions between religious obedience and freedom of will in a way that's universally understandable. And he does so with the authority of a religious insider and the visual vocabulary of an independent artist — both of which he is: Born in Israel in 1970 and raised in an ultra-Orthodox family, he's now a secular filmmaker, living in Tel Aviv with, I hope, many more stories to tell. A

Originally posted May 16, 2008 Published in issue #992-993 May 23, 2008 Order article reprints