LA PETITE JERUSALEM
LITTLE JERUSALEM

Director:
Karin Albou

Screenplay:
Karin Albou

Cast:
Laura: Fanny Valette
Mathilde: Elsa Zylberstein
Ariel: Bruno Todeschini
Djamel: Hedi Tillette de Clermont-Tonnerre
Mother: Sonia Tahar

Awards:
SACD Screenwriting Award, Cannes Film Festival (2005)

Running time: 96’
Production: France, 2004
Rating: Not Rated
Gauge: 35mm, DVD (color)

Distributor:
Kino International




“Her [Karin Albou’s] camera prowls, nimble and alert, attentive to the heft and texture of things. Close attention is paid to sound design, physiognomy and the suggestive capacities of unpredictable edits.”
Nathan Lee, The New York Times

La Petite Jerusalem is the nickname of Sarcelles, a low-income housing neighborhood near Paris. Among the high number of Jewish immigrants who live there, a Tunisian family of eight shares a cramped apartment: Laura (a French-born, 18-year-old student), her sister Mathilde, their mother, Mathilde’s husband Ariel, and the couple’s four children. Independent and strong-willed, Laura refuses Ariel’s orthodoxy and her mother’s superstition. Instead, she throws herself into the study of Kant which leads her to take evening walks. On one such walk, she meets an Algerian-Muslim immigrant named Djamel. While Laura’s life is disrupted by their love affair, her sister Mathilde finds out that her husband is cheating on her. Mathilde turns to a religious counselor who opens her eyes to the possibility of sexual pleasure within marriage and to the different ways in which religious faith can be enacted. Her struggling marriage is revived, but Laura’s relationship with Djamel becomes complicated by his family’s disapproval of her. All this is taking place while tensions between Muslim and Jewish communities are rising. In her first feature film, Karin Albou delicately depicts the intimate lives of two women while raising questions of religious interpretation, freedom, sexuality and family relationships.

 
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