Late Marriage | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Late Marriage

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Family expectations clash with the prospect of personal happiness in this biting 2001 comedy by first-time Israeli writer-director Dover Kosashvili. Zaza (Lior Ashkenazi), a graduate student in philosophy, comes from a clan of traditional Soviet Georgian emigres who want him to marry a virgin and raise a family; their mission becomes more urgent when they discover his clandestine affair with Judith (Ronit Elkabetz), an older divorced mother from Morocco. Kosashvili is himself a Georgian emigre to Tel Aviv (in fact the protagonist's mother is played by the filmmaker's, Lili Kosashvili), and his treatment of Zaza's earthy relatives and their pack mentality is alternately fond (as they scout out potential brides) and harsh (as they cruelly confront the two lovers). In contrast to their arranged marriages, which are more convenient than loving, the entire middle third of the film is devoted to an engrossing bedroom scene between Zaza and Judith that unfolds their sexual and emotional kinship. Despite its farcical moments, Late Marriage leaves an aftertaste as sobering as other recent films that critique cultural conservatives in the Middle East. In Hebrew and Georgian with subtitles. 98 min. Music Box, Friday through Thursday, May 31 through June 6.

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