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Generally favorable reviews - based on 13 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: Set in the suburban Paris neighbourhood of Sarcelles, known as 'Little Jerusalem' due to its large Jewish population, the film focuses on 18-year-old student Laura (Valette) as she tries to reconcile all the conflicting influences and feelings to which study and experience have introducedSet in the suburban Paris neighbourhood of Sarcelles, known as 'Little Jerusalem' due to its large Jewish population, the film focuses on 18-year-old student Laura (Valette) as she tries to reconcile all the conflicting influences and feelings to which study and experience have introduced her. Religion, philosophy, romantic love and sensual desire all vie for the heart and mind of this smart, serious teenage girl in this skilfully balanced debut feature from writer-director Karin Albou. (Kino International) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 13
  2. Negative: 0 out of 13
  1. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    88
    Beautifully played by Valette and Zylberstein, and directed with amazing grace by Albou, this touching film offers a respectful, fascinating look at a community that's ignored as often as it's misunderstood.
  2. The sensuality is never salacious, merely curious, and the message is empowering ... at least within the confines of the insular community.
  3. 80
    Philosophy and religion become entangled with love and sex in Karin Albou's intelligent, sensual drama.
  4. Reviewed by: Lisa Nesselson
    60
    In what is arguably her best performance since "Van Gogh," Zylberstein brings Mathilde to life with grace and fervor.
  5. Stylish and well-observed while ultimately not adding up to very much.
  6. Reviewed by: Nathan Lee
    60
    For the first full hour, as we're guided inside privacies of culture and consciousness, Ms. Albou sustains her rich and gently intoxicating mode of storytelling, a feat all the more admirable in light of the overly schematic script.
  7. Writer-director Karin Albou nicely balances intellect against spirituality but is defeated by the sex scenes, which are tinged with an Orientalist exoticism; the result is a bodice-ripper for the art-house crowd.

See all 13 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. ChadS.
    Nov 10, 2006
    6
    "La Petit Jerusalem" is about the most unlikely Parisians, an Orthodox Jewish family, whose youngest daughter(Laura, played by Fanny Valette) "La Petit Jerusalem" is about the most unlikely Parisians, an Orthodox Jewish family, whose youngest daughter(Laura, played by Fanny Valette) rejects her religion for philosophy(Kant, mostly) as a means to better assimilate within her French surroundings. She walks a lot and looks good riding in a subway car. As a sly gesture, when Laura is by herself, the film itself looks more French than when she's surrounded by family. When Laura gives up her academic pursuits, she stops walking, and "La Petit Jerusalem" stops looking new wavish, and more like a product of the middle east. This almost-successful film is somewhat hampered by a secondary narrative, in which the older sister(Mathilde, played by Elsa Zylberstein) tries to get her freak on to save her marriage(a philandering husband with a taste for blondes). The advice she receives from a religious adviser is imparted in very dull(some will argue, mature) fashion that brings this occasionally invigorating film to a screeching halt. Then we have to watch Mathilde apply her newly-found sexual liberation in a love scene that is fairly suggestive, but highly unerotic, because, well, it's married sex and they're kind of old. Expand

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