M | Denver Film Society | Yolande Zauberman | France

M

Yolande Zauberman

Family Issues, Jewish, Social Issues

Documentary, Remembering Brit Withey

HebrewEnglish SubtitlesFrance2018105 min

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Overview

“I was a child singer, and then I was a porno kid.” So Menahem Lang introduces himself at the beginning of French director Yolande Zauberman’s searing, grittily shot documentary about generations of sexual abuse in a sect of ultra-Orthodox Jews known as the Haredim. What follows is his journey, after a long absence, into the heart of Bnei Brak, their home base on the outskirts of Tel Aviv: Whether he’s in search of answers or apologies, reconciliation or vengeance, even he’s not sure.


As a boy, Lang was a renowned performer of liturgical chants; as a man, he has had some success as a film actor—and it shows in his flair for the dramatic as he returns to the scene of the crimes by his brethren. Nearing his old synagogue, he intones: “There I was circumcised. There I got curls. There I had my bar mitzvah. There I got married. There I got divorced. There I was raped.” But his anguish is no act, and neither is his deep love for his community, even now. As he reacquaints himself with its members and hears their own tales of victimization—and, sometimes, confessions; as he confronts his brothers and parents; and as he takes part in rituals he hasn’t participated in for years, he begins to come to terms with his past—and with who he is despite and because of it. Closure? No. Progress? Perhaps.

Producer: Charles Gillibert | Editor: Raphaël Lefèvre
Cast: Menachem Lang
Additional Countries: Israel

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