Friday, June 6, 2014

Film on Friday #15 - The Jewish Cardinal

Director Ilan Duran Cohen brings us the true story of Jean-Marie Lustiger in his film, The Jewish Cardinal.

Film Movement consistently brings award winners to the small screen and this film is no exception - it's an official selection of numerous film festivals.

Lustiger was born a Jew in 1926 Poland. He converted to Catholicism at age 14. His mother was killed at Auschwitz in 1942. He rose in the ranks of the church and had the ear of Pope John Paul II.

Bare bones synopsis. And they're simply facts. Cohen brings this amazing man's life to....well, life.

Lustiger struggled with remaining true to his heritage, while embracing his faith. His dual 'roles' were both despised and embraced within the Church. The confrontation between the Jews and Catholics over Auschwitz and Lustiger's involvement was powerful. And enlightening - I was unaware of this piece of history.

Laurent Lucas was brilliant as Cohen, more than aptly portraying Lustiger's enthusiasm, strength, faith,conflict and more. The supporting case was just as wonderful, especially Aurelien Recoing as John Paul. The scenes between these two gave an intimate view of their relationship. And a 'human' view of these two men.

To be quite honest, I did not expect to enjoy this film as much as I did. I tend to shy away from religious films. But The Jewish Cardinal was not specifically about doctrine. Instead it brings to light both an important piece of history and the life of a complicated man. I was engaged from start to finish.

(The sound track was quite beautiful as well)

As, always Film Movement includes a short with their DVD. This time it's an nine minute film called Kosher from director Isabelle Stead. The tie in to the main film is obvious. It's about a lonely young Jewish boy finding a pig - and keeping it for a pet. The viewer is left to make their own inferences as there is no dialogue.

2012 / French with English subtitles / 90 min


bermudaonion said...

I do like films like this when they're well made. This one sounds terrific!

Unknown said...

This sounds fascinating! I am especially intrigued by his dual roles as a Catholic and a man with a Jewish heritage. I think this is a film I'd enjoy.

Luanne said...

Kathy - it was truly well done.

Irene - Very enjoyable - and yes fascinating!