The American movie “One of Us”, directed by “Heidi Ewing” and “Rachel Grady” for “Netflix”, is considered one of the few films that first succeeded in infiltrating the world of the Jewish community. The Hasidim in New York, who are mainly concentrated in the Brooklyn neighborhood and number about 300,000 live in what can be described as a “ghetto” closed to the customs and traditions of the seventeenth century.
Secondly, the film is distinguished by its strong theme, but it succeeds despite the temptation to adopt the method of multiple interviews with its high artistic level.
The two talented directors use camera movement, lighting, and composition of shots with the soundtrack to give special aesthetics to the image, and bring the subject closer to the viewers in a multi-faceted narrative context.
The film depicts the plight of three religious Hasidic Jews who live in a closed society after they rebel against their world, and they must pay a heavy price.
At the beginning of the film, the method used in filming suggests that we are in front of an exciting police movie characterized by mystery. The shots are short and indirect, the lighting is dim, there are figures moving like ghosts in the background of the picture, and the music intensifies the feeling of tension and anxiety.
A young woman is moving and we see only part of her body but not her face, so what exactly is going on?
Who is this woman whose frightened voice we hear while we cannot discern her figure or the features of her face?
It will not appear before us in full until after the end of the first third of the film.
Iti.. from the Hasidim to the “Foot Steps”
It is “Etty” the first character in the film, and she calls the police in the first scene depicted in the style of cinema of truth or direct cinema at the time of the event, complaining about the presence of men whom we glimpse from behind the window glass as they knock on her door forcefully in the middle of the night and threaten her.
Etty calls for help, but the policeman on the other end asks her, "Who are these?"
She says that they are relatives of her husband, who was assaulting her, and the police came and took him away from the house, and he vowed to take revenge on her and sent these people to intimidate her.
But the policeman just says: So it's a family matter!
Jewish law prohibits a Jew from reporting another Jew to the police, and through the various chapters of the film, Etty tells her story in an intermittent context and overlaps with the stories of the other two characters, and through many details we know that she got married - without her desire - when she was nineteen years old, and her husband was At eighteen, they met and sat in front of each other for thirty minutes, and then he said to her: Let's get married.
And they got married after seven months, and she had to cut her beautiful black hair and wear a wig according to the traditions of the Jews, and “Etty” did nothing for years except to have children, so she gave birth to six sons and daughters, and her husband’s treatment of her was getting worse day by day from domestic violence to sexual assault
We only see close-ups of Etty's hands and her restless legs, we glimpse part of her body as she sits on the bed and says she fell into depression and was hospitalized.
In a sudden snapshot, Etty leaves the gate of the house to go to the “Footsteps” group, which consists of a group of men and women who were in the past within the Hasidic Jewish community, but they rebelled against it and began helping everyone who wants to leave like them, just as Etty does, who decided to rebel against life. Inside this ghetto, she was separated from her husband after she had had enough, but he filed a case against her demanding the right to take care of his six children.
The Hasidim consider the Footsteps group the number one enemy in Brooklyn, and they incite against it and mobilize all their financial strength in order to eliminate it, as they accuse it of sabotaging their strict traditional society that prohibits many of the means of modern civilization.
Community.. the Hasidim's only means of survival
We also have “Ari,” the youngest of the three characters.. A young man of eighteen years of age, we see him going to the barber to cut his hair and get rid of his sideburns, after he got rid of the black clothes and hat that are considered distinctive signs of the Hasidim.
He left the cult and faced his fate alone in Brooklyn, New York.
He watches and waits, sneaks into a dance for guys his age, flips through his cellphone photos and sees what he looks like in his bizarre clothes, and says he never recognized himself like that... "I didn't want to live the lie."
The film deals with three characters from the Hasidic Jews “Ari”, “Etty” and “Loser”, and enters their worlds to convey what is interesting
In front of a rabbi named Yosef Rappaport, Ari sits, telling the man how his friends and classmates cut off their relationship with him. They refuse to return the greeting whenever they meet them. The rabbi finds nothing to say to him except that “humanity is unjust.. people must merge into groups, remain silent, and accept that.
This is human nature, to belong to a group, and we have preserved our existence thanks to this belonging.
The lady who assists Etty in the “Foot Steps” association explains that the Hasidim phenomenon is a product of the Second World War period. They belong to the Jews of Central and Eastern Europe, and they were persecuted and suffered a lot during the “Holocaust.” When the war ended, they came to New York and settled in Brooklyn and isolated themselves within their traditions. And their old clothes with the impact of the massive shock that prompted them to stick together and that this is the only way to survive and survive.
That is, they live - as you say - with the mentality of those who survived by some miracle.
The Internet.. a trap that threatens God's people
In a scene from the archives, we see footage of a large gathering of sectarian men in black clothes and hats filling the stands of Borough Park in New York (on May 20, 2012).
An elderly rabbi stands giving a loud speech to the large gathering. “Many have fallen into a trap.
We are here in response to our spiritual leaders who have identified the dangers of the Internet, something that threatens our very existence as God's people.”
In a close-up, the rabbi moves his hands nervously, and his voice rises as he says, "I have seen with my own eyes people who give children BlackBerry devices, iPhones, and iPads. Have they lost their minds?"
The Hasidim, dressed in black and wearing large hats, see the Internet as a trap.
Ari watches the speech on TV, remembers that he was there in the crowd, “I heard there for the first time about the Internet and I wanted to try it, and Wikipedia was a “godsend” to me, I could read and know about anything I wanted, and I hadn't I had no education, and I knew nothing of the world.”
From here Ari found himself drawn to the world outside the ghetto.
Ari stands near a public park in Brooklyn.
A Hasidic Jew, dressed in black and wearing a large hat, approaches him.
He asks him: Do you speak Yiddish (the language of East European Jews)?
He answers: Yes.
He asks for a free internet site nearby, and Ari points him toward the other end of the park.
The man says: Children gather here to go to this place that spoils them.
Ari answers him in defiance: You are in the twenty-first century, and you will not be able to stand against this natural development.
The man asks him: Are you one of us?
Then, in a clear intrusion into the valueless individual privacy of these people: But why does it look like this?
Ari: Uh...you mean my hair?
I cut it.
The man looks at him in anger and says: I hope that your standing here will help you to pray to God to bring you back to your senses.
Loser.. a hidden movie lover
The third, most attractive and interesting character, and perhaps also the most lively and optimistic despite the tragedy, is the "Loser" character.
We first see him swaying to the sound of music in a car on the outskirts of Los Angeles: he's on his way to look for work as an actor, "I'm trying to live normally, I don't feel like I was a Hasidim in the past."
He left the sect three years ago and now lives in a caravan.
He does not want his previous image to affect his future image if he happens to become an actor, but he goes to New York to first start playing the role of a young Hasidim Jew, as he knows very well how to play the role completely naturally, but we also see him preparing his shape to fit the shape he used to.
The rabbis control everything. They never allow anyone to rebel against the congregation, but do everything they can to push this person back.
Loeser says his connection to the world outside the sect began with watching movies.
He would rent CDs, stash them in the spare wheel, then go to a secluded forest and watch them inside his car.
Once a policeman approached him and asked him what he was doing, and he said that he was watching a movie, so he asked him why he did not watch it at his home?
He said: Because I can't.
He talks enthusiastically about movies and says that his relationship with the world, fun, people, and even everything stems from the world of cinema.
Luzer also admits that he has not studied anything about the world, and has no knowledge or experience in any field.
But he works as an Uber driver.
Luzer also has his sad side, he was married for three years but he was not happy, and for a whole year he did not exchange a conversation with his wife, so she went to her mother and divorced him, and when he called to inform his mother of the divorce, she closed the phone in his face and the two did not exchange a conversation for seven years, and he had children His wife has two children, but he does not see them, but speaks to them on the phone sometimes.
Hasidim.. Vote for Trump
A car drives through the streets of Brooklyn, many Hasidic men and women going to go about their business.
A voice from a loudspeaker suspended above a car calls on the Hasidim to go out and vote for Donald Trump, whom the voice describes as “the candidate who understands that our rights come from God, not from the government.”
The ultra-Orthodox Jewish community has established its own ambulance company and transportation network, its own schools, and it forbids its members to interact with the secular world: restaurants and cafes, it has its own places.
She hangs signs warning women not to wear stockings that show the color of their shins.
The psychiatrist who follows Etty's case says that the rabbis control everything. They will never allow anyone to rebel against the group and leave it, but rather they will do everything they can to push this person to return.
And they tell their children that whoever gets out will fall into crime and end up in prison, and we see how they paint the faces of the girls’ pictures in the children’s picture books black, the woman says: In this way they tighten their control.
“Etty” suffers from constant threats, the phone rings constantly in the middle of the night inside her apartment or while she is driving her car, we see her answering, and a voice comes to her saying, “You are dirty, you are carrying something against God and against Judaism, you are shooting yourself.”
In court we follow Etty's case but we don't see the faces, only a group of men from below looking out in their black trousers.
It is the group of lawyers and supporters of Etty's husband that we only see in an old photograph.
We are in the New York Supreme Court, and through clips of papers from the case file that appear on the screen, we discern the questions of the husband's lawyer, what the witnesses say, and Etty's answers to the judge's questions that transcend logic and reason such as Who do you mix with?
Did you take your daughter to the house of so-and-so and have dinner there?
Do you wear tight pants?
Is there something about your private life that we don't know?
It will end up taking Etty's children from her and distributing them to her husband's relatives, and the tortured "Ari" will enter the cycle of cocaine addiction and then enter a rehab for addiction treatment and make progress after a hundred days, and we see him summoned in front of the camera to tell how he was raped in front of his colleagues by a boy who was He is older than him and was the boss at summer camp.
As for “Loser”, he will join an acting workshop, where he will be summoned from his own experience. He wrote a short scene of a dream in which he saw a dog in the woods when he was nineteen years old, and he hurriedly embraced the dog and started crying. He was jealous of the dog because he enjoyed what he did not enjoy. by human.
And just as the eyes of Loeser's coach shed tears, the eyes of the rabbi whom Ari meets at the end to discuss the existence of God shed tears.
The man despairs over the condition of the young man because of what he was subjected to in the past, but at the same time he looks forward to getting him back within the group, stressing that this is the only way to save him!
Persons under supervision..by the force of the law
The construction of the film depends on the continuous transitions between the three characters, we see them in constant motion, moving in the open space near the sea or inside the dwelling, searching for the pictures that they had in the past, looking forward to them as if they were watching people who were strangers to them (including pictures of Etty's wedding And her young husband, smiling happily.
This movement and peeking looks from the halls, or looking back, or looking from an opening in the balcony, or through the mirror of the car, reflects a sense of anxiety with an eye watching, and it is a tangible reality that the two directors succeed in capturing at the moment it occurs, like many scenes in this movie.
A demonstration of Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn, calling for the dissolution of the State of Israel and the Zionism that supports it
We see how Etty is being watched by a man who is angry with her, and then she tells how her neighbor who lives above the apartment directly above her was recording her every move in and out and everything she did.
Although she was her best friend and Etty told her everything, she had no scruples and submitted a full report on her to the court to be used against her.
When she sees the young man who is filming her on her way back to her lodgings, Etty exclaims: Is it possible that something like this should happen today in New York and be condoned by the law?
But her voice is lost in the void, of course, as the group and the rights of the group and the husband as a whole are protected and safeguarded by the force of law.