A “heartbreakingly tender” (New York Times) new entry into Israel’s ongoing filmmaking renaissance, My Father My Lord is “an anguished, mordant sigh of a fable” (New York Sun) set in the ultra-orthodox Israeli community in which writer-director Volach was raised. This “astonishing debut feature” (Variety) is a “beautifully made film” (Newsday) portraying childhood at its most transcendent and fundamentalism at its most intimately corrosive.
“We do everything in the Torah without asking why,” Rabbi Eidelman (Assi Dayan), a pious, respected elder in a cloistered Hasidic enclave tells his wonderstruck only son Menahem (Ilan Grif). But at an age where life prompts questions increasingly outside the confines of doctrine, Menahem unwittingly runs afoul of his father’s inflexibility. Mindful of her marriage vows but accepting of her son’s boyish curiosity, Rabbi Eidelman’s wife Esther (Sharon Hacohen Bar) is caught in the middle. A holiday at the seashore meant to reconnect the family brings the ideological rift between pre-teen boy and middle-aged man to a biblically and dramatically tragic climax.
“Lifting equally from the secular religiosity of Krzysztof Kieslowski’s The Decalogue and the aesthetics of Jewish ritual itself” (Village Voice), and “profoundly compassionate toward its characters” (NY Times), My Father My Lord “shines with a radiance and grave grace.” (Entertainment Weekly)