My Father My Lord (4 stars)

My Father My Lord

(12) 76min
(Artificial Eye)

From the opening frame of an Orthodox Haredic Rabbi in torment about some as yet unknown personal and spiritual agony, you know you’re in for a tough ride. The painful finale questions everything that this tunnel-visioned individual has held dear questioned without pity. Living a life driven solely by obsessive study of the Torah, Abraham (Assi Dayan) gives little regard for the feelings of his browbeaten wife Esther and playful young son Menahem. When a visit is made to the Dead Sea, a tragedy ensues which tests everyone’s fibre.

This sombre debut feature (whose DVD extras are limited to a suitably subtle trailer) from writer and director David Volach is a harsh yet beautiful chamber piece about a dark struggle between faith and family and how matters close to the heart will eventually rip the blinkers away from dogmatic belief.

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