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Review: LOVE IN SUSPENDERS [UK Jewish Film Festival 2019]

Elaine Bermitz checked out Love in Suspenders at HOME Manchester as part of the closing night of UK Jewish Film Festival in the city…

The 23rd UK Jewish Film Festival ended with this lovely Israeli comedy of love and loss directed by Yohanan Weller. A senior and very slickly directed piece in which Tami (Nitsa Shaul), a wealthy singer who has lost the main love of her life with whom she had considerable fame, injures a broke charity worker, Beno (Yehuda Barkan), and has to take him home.

As their friendship progresses to love they find themselves having to deal with  interventions from many quarters, their loved ones, nosy neighbours and disorientated and jealous suitors. But above all she can’t shake off the ghost of her dead husband, talking to him all the time as he appears and disappears at random, singing her part of the duets they used to sing together.

The longer Beno has to stay with her, seeking escape from his poorly maintained flat, the more suspicious his neighbours and family become and the more the viewer worries that their love will be thwarted by the worldly worries of their protectors. His daughter and granddaughters are prepared to fight the film’s villain – the unrelenting landlord and it is his callous action which forces the situation to its conclusion.

Directed with a light touch, veteran comedy actor Yehuda Barkan and Shtisel actress Nitsa Shaul were impressive and sang well. This was a lovely way to end a festival full of contrasting styles and moods, from the dark miscarriage of justice in Muer: Anatomy of a Trial (2018) to the tenderness of Good Morning Son (2018). The documentary style was in evidence too and, of course, humour

The still expanding festival  has brought in more people, those who came from the Spanish community to see Leona (2018), Viennese for the remarkable The Tobacconist (2018) and those from partnerships sponsors who bought interested parties. Each offering was chosen carefully by the committee who each yeAr spend hours watching the films, raising sponsorship and promoting the festivals year-round, ably led by Judith Gordon, whose energy and commitment is indefatigable.

Here’s to next year!