Religion and tradition continue to determine everyday life in the Orthodox Jewish neighbourhood of Borough Park, Brooklyn. The eponymous hero’s appearance alone makes him stand out. His ten-year-old son Rieven asks why he doesn’t wear the same tall black hat and black coat as the other men. And Menashe even tucks his side locks behind his ears so they’re hardly visible. The young widower keeps straying from the designated path. The community wants him to remarry as fast as possible. But he can’t imagine a future with another woman and snubs all the prospective brides sent his way. Since he doesn’t earn enough money and is unable to run his household on his own, an uncle decides to take over the job of raising Menashe’s son. Our awkward hero comes off like an orthodox version of a typical Woody Allen character or an unorthodox rendering of the biblical Job. Menashe develops his own worldly wisdoms, yet keeps attracting misfortune. Both the film’s drama and its humour emerge from precisely observed details of the strict rules governing Hasidic life. Failing to properly prepare the traditional kugel can thus end in true catastrophe.
Joshua Z Weinstein
USA / Israel 2017
81 min · Colour
Menashe Lustig (Menashe)Ruben Niborski (Rieven)
Born in 1983 in New York City, USA. He studied film at Boston University. In addition to directing his own films, he also works as a director of photography. Following three documentaries, Menashe is his first full-length feature film.Filmography
2008 Flying On One Engine; 51 min. 2012 Drivers Wanted; 54 min. · I Beat Mike Tyson; 13 min. 2017 Menashe
Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2017