Late Marriage, by Israeli filmmaker Dover Kosashivili, is about the way that arranged marriage traditions drag down a Georgian émigré man in Israel from achieving true love. At once a dead-pan comedy and a heartbreaking romantic drama the film is one of the best films about how some families can really screw you up.
Zaza (Lior Louie Ashkenazi) is a 31-year-old student who is still single but his parents have been trying to marry him off for years. As the film opens they are trying to hook him up with a 17-year-old girl. He goes along with his parents little shenanigan but only in a halfhearted manner.
The reason is because Zaza is involved with Judith (Ronit Elkabetz), a 34-year-old divorcee. Together they have a secret relationship that they keep from everyone but themselves. Judith even tries to hide the relationship from her young daughter (named Madonna) – who pretends not to notice the relationship is going on. But eventually they are confronted with Zaza's intensely narrow-minded family who, in an absurdly appalling way, try to embarrass the two.
The film moves along at a slow but sure pace and it eventually becomes very engrossing. The film's centerpiece is a remarkable and long sex scene that is revealing on two levels: one is the sexual nature of the scene but also interesting is the way it points out how tough a time these two have in totally relaxing and committing to one another with tradition hanging over their heads.
As Late Marriage's drama unfolds it can leave a bitter taste in your mouth and make you question tradition in any – not just Jewish or Georgian – culture that keeps people from attaining any true independence or happiness.
The film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.66 to 1 and looks very good. Most of the shots are interior and well lit. Most of the framing is from a distance – except the one long sex scene, which is in a fairly well lit bedroom.
The language is Georgian and Hebrew (with English subtitles) and sounds good. From what I can tell it is in Dolby 2.0. Most of the film's sound is dialogue but many of the scenes rely on quit and stillness. There is no soundtrack although what music there is comes across loud and clear.
The only extras are a few trailers for other Seville releases.
This is a first rate Israeli drama-comedy about arranged marriage in an overly strict Georgian-Jewish family. The DVD doesn't offer much but it's more than worth a look.