Menashe

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USA | 2017 | 81 minutes | Joshua Z Weinstein

This charming story of faith and parenthood is set in the heart of Brooklyn’s ultra-orthodox Jewish community, where a kind, hapless grocery store clerk battling to keep custody of his son is given one week by the rabbi to prove his suitability as a father.

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After traveling the world for a decade as a documentary filmmaker, director Joshua Weinstein comes back to American soil to tell the story of a man in a custody battle for the son he would do anything to keep. Tucked away in Borough Park in Brooklyn is the small Jewish community where widower Menashe and his son live. A grocery-store clerk with the best intentions but not always the best decisions, Menashe, is an outcast in his own neighborhood, which already lives by its own rules and rituals. As Menashe's faith is examined and tested, he must decide what he is willing to compromise and how much he is willing to trust the beliefs he practices. He must prove that he can be the father his son needs. Weinstein's film provides an impeccably authentic look at New York's Hasidic community: Menashe is almost the first film in almost 80 years to be shot entirely in Yiddish. As such, it provides a rare and insightful glimpse inside a tight-knit and closed community as one of their own fights for his right to parenthood in modern society, while still striving to uphold the values and traditions he holds dear.

Director Biography

Joshua Z Weinstein has quite literally been behind the camera his entire career; serving as a camera operator since the early 2000s. Weinstein made his directorial debut in 2008 with the documentary Flying on One Engine. Menashe is his first feature film.

Sponsored by Ingeniux, Stroum Center for Jewish Studies UW

  • Director: Joshua Z Weinstein
  • Principal Cast: Menashe Lustig, Ruben Niborski
  • Premiere Status: Seattle
  • Country: USA, Israel
  • Year: 2017
  • Running Time: 81 minutes
  • Producer: Yoni Brook, Traci Carlson, Daniel Finkelman, Alex Lipschultz, Joshua Z Weinstein
  • Screenplay: Alex Lipschultz, Musa Syeed, Joshua Z Weinstein
  • Cinematographers: Yoni Brook, Joshua Z Weinstein
  • Editors: Scott Cummings
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Filmography: Flying On One Engine (2008); Drivers Wanted (2012)
  • Language: Yiddish, English
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP
  • US Distributor: A24
  • International Sales: Mongrel Media