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    Late Marriage

    Stormy wedder

    Strongheaded characters savage one another in the war to get a thirty-something bachelor properly married in the comical, erotic, yet terrifying Israeli film "Late Marriage."


    (Originally reviewed at the New Directors/New Films festival in April 2002.)

    "Mommy, I don't know what to write!" the six-year-old daughter of a single mom announces desperately while staring at a blank sheet of paper. I say, Honey, you and me both. Love charms, incantations, matchmakers, steamy sex, freakish in-laws — all the makings of a Hollywood summer blockbuster are here in abundance in Late Marriage, a French/Israeli co-production written and directed by Dover Kosashvili.

    Original title: Hatuma Meuheret.
    Directed by: Dover Koshashvili.
    Cast: Lior Ashkenazi, Ronit Elkabetz, Moni Moshonov, Lili Koshashvili, Sapir Kugman..
    In Hebrew and Georgian with English subtitles.
    New Directors New Films 2002
  • Overview
  • Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner)
  • El Bola
  • Delbaran
  • Jeunesse Doree
  • Orphan of Anyang
  • Real Women Have Curves
  • The Slaughter Rule
  • 2001 festival
  • The story is simple. Zaza (Lior Loui Ashkenazi) is a fine catch: smart, good-looking, owner of a great big TV, so why isn't he married yet? He's almost 32, for god's sake! Zaza is dragged by his embarrassed relatives to see hundreds of potential brides in an attempt to follow Georgian traditions (those of Central Asian immigrants in Tel Aviv, that is, not belles in Atlanta). Even the foreskin of an eight-day-old baby is employed as a lucky charm of sorts, but to no avail.

    Here's the hitch. Zaza is in love with someone who wouldn't satisfy his family's strict standards. (Sound like an old classic?) So Zaza's sexy true love, Judith (Ronit Elkabetz), is kept a secret from the family because she's too old (34), divorced and has a child. The antics and the drama begin.

    I've rarely seen a film in which each character grasps so fiercely at his or her own personal desire, whatever that might be, with barely a passing nod at those getting trampled in the process. It's at once comical and intensely terrifying. The multiple roles of victim and tyrant aren't as clear as they first seem, and loyalties and emotions are all atumble. With each actor so fully invested, there were times I forgot I was watching a movie, as it moved seamlessly from funny to frightful and finally to that strange Chekhovian place where you don't know whether to laugh or cry.

    There were times I forgot I was watching a movie, as it moved seamlessly from funny to frightful and finally to that strange Chekhovian place where you don't know whether to laugh or cry.  

    Director Kosashvili cast his own mother (Lili Kosashvili) as the mother of the romantic lead. I'm usually a little wary when directors use members of the family to fill in a cast, but Mama Kosashvili rivals Dame Judi Dench in her facility for humor, focus and strength of will (I don't say this lightly). She is surrounded by a brilliant ensemble, but there is no actor who doesn't succeed in this film. Our hero Zaza is indeed handsome with charisma to spare, Judith the lover is harsh and sexy and sympathetic — even the dachshund is stellar.

    "Late Marriage" is a masterful depiction of people we all know, people we all love and hate, and people who hurt and are hurt themselves. You'll recognize someone, I promise. If there is such a thing, this may be the perfect movie.

    MARCH 21, 2002

    Reader comments on Late Marriage:

  • exactly   from stella, May 20, 2002
  • sex scene   from dane, Jun 18, 2002
  • Re: sex scene   from Lahav, Jan 7, 2006
  • Late Marriage, excellent   from Robert, Jun 24, 2002
  • Ronit is hot   from Naftali Muenz, Sep 3, 2002
  • help please!   from rivka, Oct 20, 2002
  • Re: help please!   from , May 24, 2003
  • amazing! funny & heartbreaking   from Nadia, Jan 3, 2006
  • wow   from tetee, Jan 23, 2006
  • Wonderful!   from Marlena, Mar 3, 2006
  • excatly,how tall is lior ashkenazi?   from james, Jan 4, 2007

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