Director: Joshua Weinstein
Starring: Menashe Lusting (Mensashe); Ruben Niborski (Rieven); Yoel Weisshaus (Eizik)
In this tender drama on self, family and community, director Joshua Weinstein deftly weaves together the story of a father longing to be with his son in the face of opposition from the Hasidic Jewish community around him.
Menashe is a recent widower. After his wife’s death, his son, Rieven, was sent to live with the boy’s uncle. Menashe pleads the rabbi to let Rieven live with him but is told that he must first remarry and get his house in order.
He lives in a dingy studio apartment and can’t cook even the most basic of Jewish dishes. Nor does he have any desire to remarry. He convinces the rabbi however, that he will prove himself a good father by hosting the community at his home on the occasion of his late’s wife’s memorial.
Menashe is a rare look into the world of Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn. Weinstein captures the cultural and social landscape with its yeshivas, matchmakers and Yiddish folk songs against the universal themes of a father’s love for his son and a man’s struggle to be himself.
Weinstein elicits sincere, empathetic performances from Lusting and Niborski which form the heart of the film. Coupled with a simple, human story and a realism rare in American cinema, they make Menashe an intimate, heartfelt film.