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"Félix and Meira": The Sacred and the Pro-Sex 

Wednesday, Apr 29 2015
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Ever since the first full-length talking picture, Alan Crosland's 1927 The Jazz Singer, the struggle between Orthodox Judaism and the secular world has been a recurring theme. In Maxime Giroux's Félix and Meira, the latter (Hadas Yaron) is a young Hasidic wife and mother in Montreal living the sheltered life her culture demands. A chance encounter with the kind yet secular Félix (Martin Dubrueil) inspires Meira, who is forbidden from even looking other men in the eye, to consider the possibility of living life on her own terms, rather than those dictated by her religion and her strict husband Shulem (Luzer Twersky). There's an inevitability to the proceedings which turns out to be not so inevitable after all, particularly in the final act, when the seemingly one-note Shulem is given unexpected depth. Though it's not a musical (and is much better than the never-very-good Jazz Singer), Félix and Meira makes excellent use of music: Meira listens to Stax records on the sly, the picture devotes a solid 80 seconds to a film clip of Sister Rosetta Thorpe performing "Didn't It Rain" in England in 1964, and Leonard Cohen's masterpiece "Famous Blue Raincoat" accompanies Meira as she realizes that opening her heart also means the possibility of it breaking. The world is a cruel place, my friend.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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