During the last year or two, there have been a lot of Israeli feature films on the subject of life in the haredi (ultra-orthodox) community. The award-winning Geula, directed by Joseph Madmony and Boaz Yehonatan Yacov, is such a film! It is an honest, passionate, and touching portrait of one particular man.
Menachem works in a haredi grocery store. Once, 15 years ago, he was the lead singer for a rock band. But today, he is a religious man, a single father of a six-year-old daughter. In order to earn some money, Menachem decides to search for his old friends and put together the band to perform at orthodox weddings.
Similar to the Blues Brothers, Menachem sets out to visit each of his friends in order to ask them to help him put back together the band – for a higher cause. In this film, it’s to help Menachem raise the funds he needs for his daughter’s chemo-therapy.
Menachem is not exactly a talkative fellow, but he does succeed in drawing us in, helping us understand who he is, and what happened to his wife. As the wedding band becomes a success, there are problematic effects on each of his friends. But eventually, his friends help him reconnect with his past and to come to grips with what he is searching for in his own life.
The title Geula (Redemption) is his daughter’s name. It also refers to Menachem’s searching for some sort of personal redemption as we see him change and develop within the film.
Geula, a surprisingly compelling and touching film, filled with some great music, is available from Transfax Films.