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Sections & Films


Category: Edition 2017

Performed entirely in Yiddish, a language not used in cinema for many decades, MENASHE follows a kind, hapless grocery store clerk as he struggles to make ends meet and responsibly parent his young son, Rieven. But in the wake of his wife Leah’s death, tradition prohibits Menashe from raising his son alone, so Rieven’s strict uncle adopts him, leaving Menashe heartbroken. Meanwhile, though Menashe seems to bungle every challenge in his path, his rabbi grants him one special week with Rieven before Leah’s memorial and a chance to prove himself a suitable man of faith and fatherhood.

Original Title Menashe
Category Official Competition
Section Generator +18
Tipology Feature Film
Duration 81'
Production Year 2017
Nationality Israel, USA
Directed by Joshua Z. Weinstein
Screenplay Alex Lipschultz, Musa Syeed, Joshua Z. Weinstein
Director of photography Yoni Brook, Joshua Z. Weinstein
Editor Scott Cummings
Music Aaron Martin, Dag Rosenqvist
Main cast Menashe Lustig (Menashe)
Ruben Niborski (Rieven)
Yoel Falkowitz (Fischel)
Produced by Yoni Brook, Traci Carlson, Daniel Finkelman, Alex Lipschultz, Joshua Z. Weinstein
Trailer 83UoZcdX__Y

--- regista --- joshua z. weinsteinJoshua Z. Weinstein
Director and DoP, he directed the documentaries DRIVERS WANTED, FLYING ON ONE ENGINE, and I BEAT MIKE TYSON. His recent director of photography credits include ELAINE STRITCH: SHOOT ME, CODE OF THE WEST. Critically acclaimed MENASHE marks his debut as a director of narrative fiction, which screened at Sundance IFF and the Berlinale 2017.

Director's statement
“I was drawn to this story as way of better understanding myself and my ancestors. I grew up as a liberal Jew in the suburbs of New York. My great grand parents came from the shtetls of Poland, landed in Brooklyn and from there the family pretty much stayed put. That said, I have always been fascinated by Hasidic Jews. […] Hasidic life in Borough Park has many similarities to how my great grand parents lived outside Warsaw. The film allowed me to share in the humanity and warmth of the community and develop a better thread of understanding that ultimately goes in both directions. […] Menashe is a great friend and an even better actor. I remember the first time driving up to meet him in New Square, a town 27 miles north of the GW bridge that is exclusively made up of Skver Hassids. It is also one of the poorest municipalities in the United States and is connected by a single road leading in and out. Entering a town completely populated by Hasidic Jews makes you feel transported back to the ghettos of Poland. On my first casting trip to this town, I remember having Menashe improv for us, and couldn’t believe the ferociousness, humanity, vulnerability, and comedic timing he possessed. Many elements of his character in the film are also based on Menashe’s own life. Menashe is actually a widowed grocer whose son lives a few blocks away in a foster home. Bringing his life experience to the forefront made his performance incredibly raw, allowing life to imitate art and vice versa. Menashe sometimes told me how confusing the entire experience was for him, yet ultimately he was incredibly happy to be able to express himself in an artistic way. […] The community is usually depicted according to the views of outsiders and frequently appears cold and generally without joy. Yet the Hasidic culture that I have experienced is one that is funny, beautiful, and deeply spiritual. While I was researching the film I would walk the streets of Borough Park and have frank conversations with the people I encountered, many of whom were wonderful and exceedingly curious about the outside world. My goal with the film was to humanize these people to an audience of outsiders and share moments of their everyday lives that are rarely seen”.

Shtick Film
Maiden Voyage
Where's Eve
Sparks Productions
Green Productions

world sales
Mongrel International

festival contact
Ramonda Inc.

All films in competition are in the original language with Italian subtitles except for +3 and +6 sections that has a live over-sound). Entrance to Elements and Generator screenings is free (subject to available seats) priority will be given to jurors, press and accredited audience.
meeting at the Sala De Sica and Antica Ramiera are for Masterclass jurors and press only.
Entrance to Parental Control
and Gex Doc sections is free up to capacity, Elements +6 and +10, press and accreditation have priority.
Entrance to Wizard Nights
and Fright Nights films is free up to capacity.