Like a Bride | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Like a Bride



Growing up Jewish may be a cliched subject for a film by now, but intelligently explored in a sociopolitical context it can be fresh, timely, and instructive--as Mexican director Guita Schyfter demonstrates in her 1993 debut feature. Set in Mexico City during the 50s and early 60s, the story juxtaposes the lives of two friends on the brink of adulthood--Oshinica, whose parents are Sephardic immigrants from Turkey, and Rifke, whose parents are Eastern European refugees of the Holocaust. While the anti-Semitism in the Catholic world around them provides occasions for Schyfter's didactic appeal for tolerance, her focus is really on the tensions in the insular, solidarity-minded Jewish community. Oshinica's conservative family wants her to settle into a married life, even though she aspires to become a painter; Rifke's parents are more liberal, but they anguish over her Zionist zeal and her non-Jewish boyfriend, a communist student leader. Playing down the melodramatic potential inherent in ideological and generational confrontations, Schyfter instead shows a keen sense of observation. The two leads, Claudette Maille (Oshinica) and Maya Michalska (Rifke), are remarkable in their understated portrayals of frankness and angst tempered by innocence. Watching them is like eavesdropping on two bosom buddies exchanging remembrances and confidences. Facets Multimedia Center, 1517 W. Fullerton, Friday, April 26, 6:30 and 8:45; Saturday and Sunday, April 27 and 28, 3:15, 5:30, and 7:45; and Monday through Thursday, April 29 through May 2, 6:30 and 8:45; 281-4114. --Ted Shen

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