Deprivation, Etc.: The New Movie, “The Wedding Plan”

Filmmaker Rama Burshtein is able to make believable the peculiar, unlikely actions of her chief character, Michal (Noa Koler), in the fascinating, not-very-comic The Wedding Plan (2017).  Michal deeply yearns to be married that she might be “normal” and “respected” and, oh yes, loved; but she pleases almost no one and is even jilted by her fiancé.  An Orthodox Jew, she starts maintaining that God will bless her with a new groom, to replace the man who jilted her, 22 days hence on the eighth day of Hanukkah.  She proceeds to hunt for the unknown groom.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     A better examination of long-lasting deprivation for an unmarried soul could not be imagined.  Burshtein and actress Koler render Michal a nice but weary woman, frowning with confusion, nervously hopeful, struggling for faith.  Koler’s acting is incisive, great.  The Wedding Plan, though rather thin, is meaningful un-arty art.  Michal reminds me a little of Lily Bart in Wharton’s The House of Mirth except that she isn’t a tragic heroine, which is certifiably appropriate.

(In Hebrew with English subtitles)

Again, Wayne Is “Tall in the Saddle”

In the John Wayne Western from 1944, Tall in the Saddle, land seizures are interrupted when a man threatens to tell the authorities about the sell of marked playing cards.  The man, never shown, is killed.  John Wayne plays the newly hired worker and good shot who, naturally, discovers the truth.

Wayne plainly attracts the haters here, including an insufferable biddy.  A saucy cowgirl (Ella Raines) believes Wayne has made a fool of her, and she intends to fire him from his ranch job, but—aw—she becomes infatuated with him.  There is a pleasing little moment in Saddle when a fellow female looker, Raines’s competition, praises the cowgirl’s prettiness and Raines gives a verbal indication that she knows about her looks and intends to use them to her advantage.

Tall in the Saddle

Tall in the Saddle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Director Edwin L. Marin‘s movie is a fun romp in which Wayne’s character is refreshingly less contemptuous of certain people than some other Wayne characters.  The cast is not wholly effective but it comes close, especially with the admirable fire of Ward Bond and Miss Raines.

A Word About “Ordet” (The Dreyer Film)

Carl Theodore Dreyer‘s Ordet (“The Word”, 1955) is tedious and too theatrical—it is adapted from a play—but also sufficiently strange to end with an astonishing miracle the likes of which humanity never sees anymore.  The film shows us the persistence of religious faith despite what life does to ordinary hopes and pursuits:  possessing a sane mind, having a healthy family, getting married.  But it shows us, too, a madman who thinks he is Jesus Christ before he recovers his sanity (unlikely) performing the aforementioned miracle.  He necessarily performs it through the power of Jesus Christ (and certainly not through his own power).  Dreyer seems to believe that because God is able to create the universe, He can also work any kind of miracle, and he’s right.  His approach for conveying this, however, is not very palatable.

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