A Russian-Jewish gay teenager coming of age in Brighton Beach in the new influential independent film Minyan, a subtle and sensitive drama that tells an unexpected story about a large Jewish immigrant community in Brooklyn.
Based on a story by David Bezmozgis, a long-time Russian Jewish identity and research author, Eric Steele finds a unique way to illuminate his unusual themes through the prism of Orthodox Jewish culture that values masculinity. and strength in numbers. If, as the film suggests, the meeting of 10 men for prayer is a sacred act, then, undoubtedly, two men united in love should also have a certain degree of holiness.
Levin, who impressed the Broadway audience in Legacy, is transformed into a play that, in 1986, lived as David, the only son of Soviet Jewish immigrants. His Parents: His mother (Brock Bloom), adamant about sending him to a yeshiva where he is regularly bullied, seems to be for his true needs, while his cruel and deceitful father seems to be expressing misconceptions about masculinity. To punish his son for a fight with another yeshiva student who mocks him for being David’s Russian father punches him in the face.
Instead, David is drawn to his grandfather Joseph (Ron Rifkin), whose calm, realistic rituals comfort him. With the opening of the film, Joseph decides to look for a new apartment for himself after the death of his wife. Here we see why the film is called Minian: Joseph can only get a fixed-income apartment in the synagogue building after David agrees to join him, because together they give the ten male believers needed to pray.
In all these buildings, filled with Jews experiencing the accumulated part of the trauma of generations (both the Holocaust and the purges of Soviet Jews are often recorded), David finally discovered a small part of himself. His synagogue neighbors are two old men who live together. They have a story to explain their agreement, which the society accepts, but they clearly find more comfort in this secret than they could get in the Soviet Union. Shortly after their meeting, David begins to explore a local gay bar, losing his virginity to an overwhelmed waiter (Alex Hurt), who, in the midst of the AIDS epidemic, seems shocked by the youth of his new lover and ignorance of the disease – and how David, who had already escaped unhappy life thanks to the blessing of his parents, does not understand that he can condemn himself to another.
For now, the species is cautiously trying to navigate its surroundings. … With the help of klezmer David Krakauer and Kathleen, the film highlights the moments when his character comes alone: leading the Kaddish prayer in the Sorrowful One, screaming about the living conditions of another Jew, or simply listening to his mother as the consolation she can give him. A new life in which he won’t be targeted because of his Jewishness.
Steele’s previous filmography – a highlight of his previous directing – the controversial 2006 documentary The Bridge, which secretly depicts annual suicides at the Golden Gate Bridge – suggested that it was intended to address such a delicate and humane story as Minian. Steele himself grew up gay and Jewish in the 80s, and he skillfully combined Bezmozgis’s source material with his own memories to create a film with a personal touch. The film even coincides with the work of Ira Sachs and Andrew Hay, reigning kings of layered and disparate stories about LGBT communities, while they are furious Jews. Minian is an intimate story of outcasts in many forms.
Minyan opens today at the IFC in New York and expands to Los Angeles and leases on October 29th.