B R I E F   S Y N O P S I S
Set in the world's holiest city during the dawn of the new century, the plot of The Holy Land focuses on Menachem Weinbaum ("Mendy"),a young rabbinical student who is restless to learn about the bigger world. On the advice of his slightly demented teacher, Mendy visits a brothel in Tel Aviv so he can be rid of his "madness" and return to his studies. There he meets Sasha, a nineteen-year-old Russian prostitute whose dire situation and immense beauty captivates him. But Mendy's world really opens up when he discovers Mike's Place, a real-life magnet for the lost souls who flock to Jerusalem. Written and directed by Eitan Gorlin.
  The Holy Land

Dear FiLM Club Members,

Despite its volcanic setting, The Holy Land is first and foremost a coming of age story. Like the prodigal son, the innocent Mendy leaves the comfort and protection of his "pampered" Orthodox Jewish upbringing in search of experience and gritty knowledge. And what does he learn about the adult, outside world? That it encompasses ethnic hatred, sexual slavery, greed, terrorism, army brutality and emotional betrayal.

But Mendy also falls in love for the first time. And he gets a job as a bartender at Mike's Place (a real-life Jerusalem bar bombed by terrorists only two months ago) where every night Arabs, Jews, atheists and rabbis bond over drinks. In this film, you will meet a curious rabbinical student, an exploited foreign prostitute (Sasha), an American war photographer, a messianic Jewish settler and an Arab wheeler and dealer.

The Holy Land talks nakedly and intimately about a land which is dear and holy to half the world. You will see a side of Israel that few outsiders even know exist. And although the characters and setting are specific and particular to one place and time, you will hopefully find the film's themes, i.e. God, fear, conflict, nationalism, trust and sanity, universal and very relevant to your own lives and perceptions.


Eitan Gorlin

–Summer 2003


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