The Jew | Chicago Reader

The Jew

The Inquisition was a bad thing—that's all the thematic content you'll find in this surprisingly boring drama about the injustices endured by Jewish playwright Antonio Jose da Silva (Filipe Pinheiro) in 18th-century Portugal. A textbook example of why it isn't enough just to recapitulate history, however accurately, this 1995 movie goes through its paces, striking only in the magnitude of the wasted effort—the elaborate locations, costumes, and troops of extras are all superfluous. The torture scenes are notable because when the victim is Pinheiro the camera frames his head and chest, merely suggesting his nakedness, but when it's a woman we get 360 degrees of nudity. The chronicles of Silva's imprisonment and torture are bookended with examples of audiences appreciating his satirical puppet plays—an obvious irony that's hardly likely to inspire viewers to any significant contemplation of this horrific history. Jom Tob Azulay directed a script by Millor Fernandes, Geraldo Carneiro, and Gilvan Pereira.

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