Fascinating, moving and devastating documentaries on Netflix will disturb you

Many factors explain – but will never justify – at least in part that Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) in command of Nazi Germany between the 1930s and the hardest core of crime and rejection of Jews was taken to the essence of madness 1940. Perhaps the most energetic of them are those that refer to Jewish pride, to an individual’s pride in recognizing himself as part of a people chosen by God—for them, of course, “the” people chosen by God— in order to be fruitful, multiply and occupy gardens and fields, starting from Israel, a kind of Eden revived, taken over more than half of its extension by the burning sands of the Negev desert. One of the arguments used by a small but noisy group of Jews to ratify this supposed divine predilection falls apart in “One of Us,” by directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, two of the most serious scholars of religion and its effects on people the social organizations available to cinema today. With great care, Ewing and Grady succeed in dissecting one of the most closed Jewish communities in the middle of New York, specifically in Brooklyn, on the far west side of the city. What little is known about the Hasidim, ultra-Orthodox Jews who live by unrelentingly strict – and very particular – readings of the Torah, the holy book of the ancient Hebrews, has been told by amateur researchers and academics who study their customs and traditions based on , what they can absorb from safety reports. In “One of Us,” three dissonant Hasidic voices rise, presumably not fully aware of the consequences of their courageous outpouring.

After a warm introduction, punctuated by saxophone solos in front of the Hudson River, the viewer has the dialectical impression, sometimes true, sometimes misleading, that the Hasidim are mixing in the monstrosity of today’s New York. The directors explain that the Hasidim fleeing the ethnic genocides that ravaged Eastern Europe throughout the 18th and 19th centuries – which unfortunately continued to happen in the last century – used the Big Apple as the fortress that would guarantee their survival, physically and cultural, which is proven. The very sober clothes, always black, the men’s hats and shaggy beards culminating in cascades of hair curled around their sideburns, as well as women in long dresses and with hair hidden under white scarves came soon after, as a way of distinguishing themselves from rest, Jews , to take a stand. The ultra-Orthodox have never stopped practicing Yiddish, a hybrid of Germanic languages ​​compounded with elements of Aramaic and Hebrew, and anyone born into a Hasidic home and rebels deserves rejection and moral lynching by the group. This is the hook that “One of Us” uses to introduce Etty, arguably the character who best embodies this notion of apostasy, of renouncing a belief that has become the most excruciating pain anyone can be subjected to for, and all that. what a transformation of such an attitude brings – for better or for worse. This quiet housewife, mother of seven children and convinced of the role she should play in her family and mainly in front of her co-religionists, begins to question her ontological nature at the age of nineteen, shortly after being forced into marriage with a boy a year younger than he had ever seen. There was, of course, the shock of having her long, thick black hair cut by her mother before her wedding night, one of the tenets most observed by ultra-Orthodox families, plus mandatory sex on Fridays and the vow of blind obedience to her husband, but what is most scandalous about Etty’s process of self-discovery is the resulting demonization to which she is subjected. Deciding to leave what she knew as life and move to an address she definitely had, Etty becomes a shadow of her former self. Since she had the right to visit her children on sporadic dates, she also had to get used to invasion attempts by her ex-partner’s relatives. The New York court has not set a deadline for the verdict in the case it is bringing against him.

No less harrowing are the stories of Ari, the victim of sexual abuse by a rabbi – the trauma gave her a cocaine addiction that she still hasn’t completely gotten over, and the two overdoses she failed to tell – and Luzer, who left his wife and children in New York, where he lived in his car, in a public parking lot, on his way to Los Angeles with the dream of a Hollywood opportunity in his trunk, only confirms a central idea. Harshly oppressed in Israel, where they are seen as insane fundamentalists – not without reason, since they even carry out attacks against the Jews themselves (and here it is necessary to remember the cowardly assassination of Yitzhak Rabin [1922-1995]) —, only America would admit people with such intolerant worldviews, in the name of its vast and unbroken democratic tradition. But American democracy cannot be the wall of shame.

Movie: One of us
Direction: Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady
Year: 2017
genres: Documentary/Religion/Sociology
Note: 8/10

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