THE WOMEN’S BALCONY (2016): Sneak Peek by Jan Lisa Huttner

Set in a close-knit community in Jerusalem, The Women’s Balcony is a parable about what happens when bad things happen to good people. But rather than weep and wail, screenwriter Shlomit Nehama, and director Emil Ben-Shimon create a joyous dramedy about faith and fellowship.

Highly recommended! One of the best films of the year in any language. (JLH: 5/5)

Sneak Peek by FF2 Editor-in-Chief Jan Lisa Huttner (NOTE THAT THIS FILM OPENS IN NYC TODAY — 5/26/17 — BUT DOESN’T OPEN IN CHICAGO UNTIL 6/16/17. MORE WILL BE POSTED AT THAT TIME.)

Theodicy. Etymologically, the word “theodicy” derives from two Greek words: Theos (the Greek word for “God”) and dikē (best translated as “trial” or “judgement”). But used colloquially, this heavy philosophical concept concerns a question we have all asked ourselves at one time or another: Why do bad things happen to good people?

In the Biblical Book of Job, the Theodicy question is an urgent one. A righteous man who seems to have done everything right is suddenly brought low. Why is God punishing Job? Is he not, in fact, a righteous man? Clearly, that is the immediate assumption of some of his neighbors.

In the Biblical Book of Job,  the Theodicy question — like most questions in Western Culture — is asked and answered by men. Job dismisses the words of his wife in Chapter Two, and spends most of the remaining 40 chapters debating with the guys before receiving his ultimate answer from the Almighty Himself.

However, women finally get their say in the joyous new Israeli film The Women’s Balcony, in dialogue penned by screenwriter Shlomit Nehama, and vividly brought to life by director Emil Ben-Shimon. Hooray for Shlomit and Emil!

© Jan Lisa Huttner (5/26/17) FF2 Media

Top Photo: Evelin Hagoel as “Ettie” consoles one of her neighbors. Note the subversive juxtaposition of the head covering and the cigarette.

Bottom Photo: Member of the community stare in shock at the closed off entrance to their synagogue. Evelin Hagoel (“Ettie”) is on the far left standing next to her husband “Zion” (Igal Naor), the tall guy to her right.

Q: Does The Women’s Balcony pass the Bechdel-Wallace Test? 

Absolutely!

The women in The Women’s Balcony have way too much on their minds to waste any time “talking about a man.” Whatever thoughts they may have as individuals about Rabbi David’s motivations they wisely keep to themselves.

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