Thursday, July 06, 2006

Ushpizin Isn't Kosher? Whod've Thunk It?

A poster on ChabadTalk (who admits that he, himself hasn't seen the movie) attempts to find fault with the picture. His complaints:

1. The two main characters are husband and wife in real life. Thus, there would have been a significant amount of lack of tznius in the production of the film, because the couple are seen passing objects to each other in almost every scene. Thus, it would have happened regularly that the couple told the others doing the filming, “err, sorry, we’ll have to leave doing that scene for another two weeks.” Then, “err, now we can do that scene.” Vedal.

Maybe. Maybe not. Perhaps they scheduled the scenes in advance so that it wouldn't be a problem? Perhaps she (gasp!) was on birth control and therefore wasn't niddah for an extended period of time. Perhaps she never becomes niddah?

2. There are a number of scenes where the couple (don’t engage in any physical contact whatsoever, of course, but) speak to each other romantically, which is licho’oiro a clear issur.

Speaking to one's wife/husband romantically is a clear issur?! Oy vey.

3. There’s something inherently non-tznius about a woman acting knowing that men will be watching her.

You're right. So, let's keep all of our women behind closed doors forever where men cannot watch them.

4. The non-frum characters are seen without any head covering in many scenes.

Firstly, who says the actors were even frum? Or even Jewish at all (there are non-Jews who can speak Hebrew, you know)? And even if they were frum, one is allowed to not wear a kippah for professional reasons -- and an actor playing the part of a non-frum person definitely qualifies as a professional reason.

5. The main female character is seen smoking on occasion, vos dos past nisht.

So, she smokes. She also leaves her husband. She also gets angry during the movie. In other words, she's a human being with faults. Heaven forbid there should be any of those in K'lal Yisrael.

I suppose that if you want, you can find fault in almost anything. I suppose the poster would have liked it had the female character been played by a male (as was done in Ancient Greece and in Shakespearean times), been portrayed only as a perfect tzadekkes (much like an Artscroll biography) and with the non-frum characters (can they be shown?) wearing a kippah (or, even better, a black hat) and tzitzis in every scene. Oh yes, and the "couple" must pretend to act like roommates - we can't have them showing any affection that might lead us to believe that they are actually married to each other.

Sigh. Sometimes you just can't please somebody no matter what you do.

The Wolf

18 comments:

Ezzie said...

Funny. When we saw the movie, we noted many of the same details - and how wonderful it was to see. I guess everything is a matter of perspective...

Tova said...

Hysterically sad. Especially since the "reviewer" hasn't seen the movie.

Mississippi Fred MacDowell said...

>The non-frum characters are seen without any head covering in many scenes.

I guess he's never seen the famous photo of the Lubavitcher Rebbe as a young man without a yarmulke.

Anonymous said...

It is very common for frenkishe baalos teshuva to smoke. I would say more common than not.

Enigma4U said...

Those are all minor quibbles, Wolf. What about the major sin of bitul z'man?

;-)

Anonymous said...

I know at least one old time litvishe woman married to a rosh yeshiva who smokes or used to smoke like a chimney.

Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

and i was expecting the problem being that they were Breslov hhozrim-bitshuva and not Chabad ones :-P

SephardiLady said...

What is up with the smoking comment (#7)? It is OK for a frum man to smoke (Chabad has plenty of them), but when a woman has the same character flaw it makes a movie trief?

Anonymous said...

i dont understand why the opinon of one silly person deserves a lengthy analysis and critique on a blog, even if the silly person is a chabadnik

Pragmatician said...

I think the non frum guys are not frum in real life as they're not wearing a head covering in the documentary included on the DVD either,and they're not dressed in character.

Balabusta in Blue Jeans said...

A woman is not allowed to play a pious woman in a movie where her character is married to her real-life husband's character? Has anyone looked into the possibility that being female is in and of itself immodest? 'Cause that seems to be where we're going, some days.

Of course, I may just be crabby because I loved the movie.

Anonymous said...

I was also suprised to hear such non-problematic comments from someone who never saw the movie. It's supposed to be very good, and even inspirational.

And, no offense "Mississippi Fred MacDowell," but the only place I've ever seen that "famous" picture of the Rebbe without the yarmulke is on the anti-chabad blog "mental blog" and the Rebbe could have easily pushed his yarmulke to the back of his head for a such a picture which if what many Jews do (even a chassid I once saw when he was getting his passport photo taken.) I don't see anything wrong with doing that.

Chaim said...

His comments seem ridiculous. But what difference does it make if he hasn't seen the movie? Why would he want to if he's heard it has so much that's offensive to him.
I haven't seen The Passion of the Christ. This is because I expect it to be offensive and not worth wasting my time on, and I don't want to enrich the filmmakers. Now that I've given full disclosure about not having seen it, let me say that it's extremely violent (R. Ebert says it's the most violent movie he's seen, including horror movies) and uses anti-Semitic imagery. These are the very reasons (among others) that I haven't seen it. I'm willing to qualify this and say that this is what I've heard. But obviously if he admits he hasn't seen it, this itself is an announcement that it's hearsay.
I agree with those who have commented here (and with The Wolf himself) that this is ridiculous, but the fact that he hasn't seen the movie seems irrelevant.

Chaim M. said...

The previous comment was not from the Chaim who has been commenting for some time. Any misleading was unintentional.

PsychoToddler said...

And I wonder why they don't make more movies for frum jews.

The whole concept is an oxymoron. Frummies hate everything about movies.

What a shock it was to find out that all the wonderful movies about jews that I watched as a kid--the chosen, fiddler on the roof, the frisco kid, Yentl--are absolutely abhored by the subjects of the films.

RC said...

Always finding fault in things makes me wanna be a better Chabad or real Jew? I don't think so. I'm happy Chabad has time to find fault in a movie. Why not look at the ovaid avodah zara you all have by proclaiming a false messaih. Or are you waiting for the movie.

Ilan said...

My local chabad (im not a chabadnick myslef but I know the rabbi) had a motzie shaboss showing of it with popcorn and soda, so it must not be an across the board dislike

Ari Kinsberg said...

Random comments:

Nice blog.

I thought it was a great movie.

I wish the critic would have complained about smoking in general.

I think I remember reading that the actors were all Breslovers. Is this true?

Enigma4u: "Those are all minor quibbles, Wolf. What about the major sin of bitul z'man?"
Bitul Zman? For some people this movie is more powerful that a mussar classic.

Wolf: "one is allowed to not wear a kippah for professional reasons -- and an actor playing the part of a non-frum person definitely qualifies as a professional reason."
I thought this "heter" for professional reasons is for environments where Jews do not feel comfortable as Jews. No actor in this movie felt uncomfortable as a Jew, and in this movie in particular not even as an Orthodox Jew. But on the other hand . . .

Anonymous: "the only place I've ever seen that "famous" picture of the Rebbe without the yarmulke is on the anti-chabad blog "mental blog" and the Rebbe could have easily pushed his yarmulke to the back of his head for a such a picture which if what many Jews do"
On 3 separate pictures (for official purposes) of the Rebbe without a kippah, see Deutsch's "Larger Than Life," v. 2, pp. 203-206. (Granted he is also a biased source, and we must take his word for one of the pictures.) If it is so obvious that the Rebbe did indeed push the kippah to the back of his head, then why the imperative to doctor the photo and add a kipah? And what's the big deal if he removed it for a photograph. Someone commented on another blog that a bareheaded individual was guilty at most of not acting with midat hesed in the view of the Gra. So here Chabadniks are using the Gra's definition of a hasid? ;-)