Contemporary World Cinema | 2017 | 114 minutes
Stranger Says: I didn’t expect Rachel Weisz would ever produce and star in a film with hot lesbian sex set in an Orthodox Jewish community. Ever. (Maybe I was misled by the fact that she is married to Daniel Craig, aka James Bond.) However, I wasn’t surprised that this film is directed by Sebastián Lelio, the award-winning director of the equally stirring A Fantastic Woman. Lelio has a proven knack for tackling stories with strong female characters. Loosely based on Naomi Alderman’s novel and co-scripted with playwright Rebecca Lenkiewicz, Disobedience revolves around two passionate women torn apart by their secular and devout lives. Ronit (Weisz) is happily single and living a vibrant life as a photographer in New York, but she is estranged from her highly respected Orthodox rabbi father in London. When she comes back for her father’s funeral, the flame for her former lover Esti (Rachel McAdams) is reignited and threatens to upend their lives and the entire community. (CARL SPENCE)
SIFF Says:Forbidden love, repressed passion, and a longing for freedom—these phrases all represent Academy Award® winner Sebastián Lelio’s latest film, DISOBEDIENCE. Ronit Krushka (Rachel Weisz, THE CONSTANT GARDENER) is a non-practicing Orthodox Jew who has dismissed her religious upbringing to live as a lone photographer in New York. When her father, a powerful rabbi in the Orthodox Jewish community, passes away, Ronit reluctantly flies back to London to pay her respects and claim his inheritance. Once there, however, she happens to meet rabbi Dovid Kuperman (Alessandro Nivola, YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE) and his wife, Esti (Rachel McAdams, SPOTLIGHT). Dovid and Esti were once Ronit’s childhood friends. Esti, however, shares a more special and delicate relationship with Ronit: the two women were once young lovers. As the days progress, Ronit’s and Esti’s desire for each other continue to grow and burn, threatening to harm their existence within the strict, rigid, and quiet Orthodox community. Dovid’s marriage is put into peril as well, as Esti soon finds herself with the courage to speak from her heart about her love. Melancholic and nuanced, Lelio’s DISOBEDIENCE is a somber narrative of the hidden desires kept within close-knit communities under impossible laws. It is, moreover, a subtle film that hints upon the urges of human freedom and love.
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