Year Released: 1999
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 84 minutes
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“A man who lies with a man as one lies with a woman, they have both done an abomination: they shall be put to death, their blood is on them.” – Leviticus 10:13.
After introducing this passage, “Trembling Before G-d” brings its narrative to the audience with different tales; some anonymous, of gay and lesbian Hasidic and Orthdox Jews, all similar and all seemingly more depressing than the next.
The most disappointing, reoccurring fact is that this portrayal never becomes anything more than a typical “talking heads” doc. This is not to say that the events inherent are not compelling and often harrowing. It just never feels complete. There are far too many questions that arouse the audience that are simply not answered, or in some cases, never asked. Why do these people continue to cling to a sect of people who ostensibly hate them? Why are they subjecting themselves to such harsh treatment…over and over again? There must be something positive and important there for those rejected by their religion to cling.
Why are we not seeing more from the other side of the spectrum? I’m not saying they’re right. I’m just saying the audience needs to hear their reasoning — whether or not it is with merit. Otherwise, what does it say about people on the other side who continue to subject themselves to such abuse and treatment?
Obviously the director has her point of view on the subject and the film is thusly slanted, but this bias, while good for the cause, may not be best suited for thorough documentary filmmaking.
Posted on November 19, 2001 in Reviews by Anthony Miele
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