The Holy Land

Overview

A young man discovers the holiest city in the world can also be full of seductive temptations and ethical challenges in this independent coming-of-age drama. Mendy (Oren Rehany) is the son of a devout Orthodox Jewish family in Tel Aviv. Mendy has been raised to become a man of the cloth, and after completing his basic education, he travels to Jerusalem to attend rabbinical school. However, Mendy soon discovers that Jerusalem is a larger and more cosmopolitan city than the Tel Aviv neighborhood where he was ...
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Overview

A young man discovers the holiest city in the world can also be full of seductive temptations and ethical challenges in this independent coming-of-age drama. Mendy (Oren Rehany) is the son of a devout Orthodox Jewish family in Tel Aviv. Mendy has been raised to become a man of the cloth, and after completing his basic education, he travels to Jerusalem to attend rabbinical school. However, Mendy soon discovers that Jerusalem is a larger and more cosmopolitan city than the Tel Aviv neighborhood where he was raised, and as he tries to satisfy his curiosity about the larger world around him, he finds himself seriously tempted for the first by the forbidden pleasures of the secular life. Mendy strikes up an unlikely friendship with Mike (Saul Stein), the owner of a local tavern that serves as a watering hole for eccentrics and outsiders of all stripes, whom Mendy gets to know on a first name basis. Mendy also finds himself thinking about sex, and one of his teachers suggests he visit a brothel as a way of confronting his sinful urges head on. There, he meets Sacha (Tchelet Semel), a Russian girl his age whose tragic story and luminous beauty make a strong impression upon him. Also screened under the title The Jerusalem Syndrome, The Holy Land was the first feature film from writer and director Eitan Gorlin, an Israeli expatriate who himself attended rabbinical school before dropping out to explore the possibilities of secular life in the United States.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; Commentary by director and cast; Interview with the director; IFC's "At the Angelika" interview with the director; Behind the scenes: premiere & opening night party; Photo album narrated by Eitan Gorlin; Theatrical trailer; Scene selection; Widescreen format
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Todd Kristel
It seems clear from the beginning of The Holy Land that writer-director Eitan Gorlin doesn't intend to pull his punches. He makes his points bluntly with broadly drawn characters, blustery dialogue and an occasional scene that seem to be intended to hit the audience like a punch in the gut. Unfortunately, the storyline lacks focus, the scenes don't always flow together smoothly, and the digressive subplots don't quite fit together to form a satisfying whole. But Gorlin does manage to convey the underlying sense of anger and frustration that his characters feel, and his convincingly shows that their lives are messy and complicated. The interactions between Mendy (Oren Rehany) and Sasha (Techlet Semel) suffer from the uneven quality of the dialogue, plus it's hard to overlook that this is yet another movie with a whore who might have a heart of good. However, the film does a very good job of maintaining a sense of ambiguity regarding what Sasha really thinks about Mendy, and Semel does a fine job with a role that could have easily seemed one dimensional.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/7/2004
  • UPC: 829567010822
  • Original Release: 2001
  • Rating:

  • Source: Arts Alliance Amer
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Theatre Wide-Screen (1.85.1)
  • Presentation: Letterbox
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:41:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Oren Rehany Mendy
Saul Stein Mike
Albert Houz Razi
Aryeh Moskuna The Exterminator
Tchelet Semel Sasha
Technical Credits
Eitan Gorlin Director, Screenwriter
Josh Apter Editor
Chris Cunningham Score Composer
Nils Kenaston Cinematographer
Carl Stensel Production Designer
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
2. Opening Credits [4:41]
3. A Teacher's Advice [2:08]
4. Meeting Sasha [5:42]
5. Another Visit to the Love Boat [4:31]
6. A Meeting on the Beach [6:34]
7. Mike's Place [7:31]
8. The Exterminator [4:28]
9. Waiting on the Delivery [5:38]
10. Mendy's Tour Through Town [4:09]
11. A Chance Meeting [3:57]
12. Working at Mike's [4:44]
13. A Gift for Mendy [7:00]
14. Another Trip to Town [4:51]
15. A Different Side of Mike [4:19]
16. Around the House [3:20]
17. Mendy's Decision [4:04]
18. A Trip With the Exterminator [4:03]
19. Future Plans [4:57]
20. Getting a Passport [10:11]
21. On the Bus [2:05]
22. Credits [3:05]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play Feature
   Scene Selection
   Bonus Material
      Theatrical Trailer
      Director and Cast Audio Commentary: On
      Director and Cast Audio Commentary: Off
      Behind-the-Scenes With the Director
      IFC - At the Angelika Interview
      Opening Night Party
      Photo Album Narrated by Director
   Coming Soon
      Bus 174
      The Tale of Tillie's Dragon
      Corn
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