Let My People Go: A French comedy



Zeitgeist Films and Les Films Pelleas, in co production with France 2 Cinema, Jouror Productions and with participation of Orange Cinema Series, et al, present Let My People Go - a comedic look at a Jewish family drama.   


When Ruben's idlyic love affair with his Finish partner Teemu falls apart due a misunderstanding,  Ruben flees home to Paris where his family is preparing for the Jewish holiday of Passover.  Lovelorn, Ruben must deal with  his zany family - a ditzy mom, who is upset his boyfriend is not Jewish; a lothario father; a divorcing sister and overbearing older brother. 


Escaping from your past isn't easy and the events often come back to haunt you.  A comedy of errors ensues as Ruben and Samuel try to help their sister with her divorce and end up in jail while Ruben fights off the affection Maurice Goldberg, the family lawyer.   Stereotypes abound and are broken during the film. 


As many European films, the story line is softer and slower than many American films and at times, it felt like too much was piled on just for the sake of laughs that were not always coming.  However, this story also addresses the issues of Judaism and homosexuality; family expectations and combined with family acceptance.    To be sure, this is not a "coming out" movie as Ruben's family seems to accept the fact of who he is. 


Let My People Go: Ruben finding the money

In French with English subtitles, Let My People Go was the winner of the Audience Award as the best Comedic Film at Philadelphia Quest and winner of Best Cinematography at Asheville Q Fest,  the cast includes Nicolas Maury (Ruben); Carmen Maura (Rachel), Jean-Francois Stevenin (Nathan); Amira Casar (Irene), Clement Sibony (Samuel) ; Jarkko Niemi (Teemu); Jean-Luc Bideau (Maurice Goldberg); Kari Vaananen (Monsieur Tilikainen) and Outi Maenpaa (Helka). 


The film was directed by Mikael Buch and written by Mikael Buch and Christophe Honore, while Celine Bozon was DP.  Production design was done by Gwendal Bescond and sound by Mathieu Vllien,  Benoit Hillebrant and Stephane ThiebautSimon Jacquet did the editing while Eric Neveux did the original score.   Producers were Philippe Martin and Geraldine Michelot


This is Mikael Buch's first feature film though his shorts also feature love misunderstandings. 


It should do very well with the Lesbian-Gay audiences and moderately well with the Jewish audiences though I found some scenes like the "Jewish spay" a little insulting.   The director had wanted this to be an iconoclastic film (one which tears apart religious symbols and icons) and he has done that. 


Let My People Go! opens in New York  on January 11, 2013 and Los Angeles on January 18, 2013.  


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