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Torn By Tradition

Sold as a romantic comedy about a 31-year-old grad student unable to find (or unwilling to choose) a bride, Dover Koshashvili's second feature is hardly madcap or even touching. Zaza (Lior Ashkenazi) is no Bachelor being chased down the street by a mob of would-be brides. He's merely torn--between his parents, who finance his existence and demand he choose a young virgin, and Judith (Ronit Elkabetz), a 34-year-old divorcee with a daughter named Madonna. Zaza's deeply in love with Judith, but both know theirs is a relationship doomed by tradition, embodied by parents who will do anything (even threaten death) to keep their son from taking up with damaged goods. Koshashvili clearly abhors the custom of arranged marriage but doesn't render its practitioners villains, merely victims of the old ways. Zaza and Judith suffer in silence, and the actors play them perfectly, always with that contented little smile they know will soon enough disappear once Zaza's parents come knocking. A remarkable movie with an unsatisfying ending, which is just the point.


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