Trembling Before G-d

84 minutes

At first glance the moral conflict between Orthodox Judaism and homosexuality seems irreconcilable—and Sandi Simcha DuBowski's revealing documentary only confirms as much. DuBowski interviews a wide spectrum of individuals in New York and Jerusalem, from rabbis to openly gay and lesbian Hasidim, some of whom are shown only in silhouette, clearly uneasy about speaking publicly. The camera does little more than register a steady stream of “talking heads,” yet the diverse personal stories provide a glimpse into a shunned subculture, where the struggle to integrate forbidden sexual practices and religious dogma is sustained by the desperate hope that, in God's eyes, good deeds may eventually outweigh the breaking of a fundamental commandment. Somewhat curiously, the film's most emotional moments occur when some of the subjects talk about their estrangement not from God, but from their families.

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