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NORA'S WILL (Cinco dias sin Nora)

Directed by: Mariana Chenillo
Running time: 92 min.
Release date: October 15, 2010
Genre: Drama, Comedy, Religion and Art/Foreign
Distributor: Menemsha Films
MPAA Rating: Not rated

Filmmaker and screenplay writer Mariana Chenillo of the recent 2010 film Revolcion, orchestrates a marvelous bitter sweat dramedy that gives an undertone of romance set in a Jewish family relationship located in Mexico. The theme in question is why a bipolar passionate Jewish woman commits suicide, how a non practicing passive Jewish ex-husband deals with a same day Jewish burial tradition, and what calamity damages spark the family and friends to react to this situation?

Jose brilliantly portrayed by veteran Mexican actor Fernando Lujan, whose work dates back 50 years, is the ex-husband of Nora (Silvia Mariscal). She is the woman he'd been married to for 30 years and then divorced, who has committed suicide (after 14 tries). The timing is uncanny being that this death is right before Passover and Jewish custom dictates that the body has to be buried quickly. However, the holiday is followed by the Sabbath and this is almost 5 days of this religious orders.

Humorously and oddly enough, before dying Nora prepares her home for her funeral and arranges the home for an elegant dinner. The plan, that will culminate with the whole family gathered for the dinner celebration of Jewish Passover, is to have Jose, who lives directly across the street, to arrange everything according to her mapped-out schedule. This dark comedy, uses a host of characters, such as, non-responding Rabbis (Max Kerlow and Enrique Arreola), a bargain offering Christian burial serviceman with "wake-to-go" provisions, a son whose presence is a necessity but not actually present, and the psychiatrist who is linked romantically to Nora that Jose is angered about.

The plot is consistently and deliberately design to bring laughter. Amusing scenarios and provoking laughter by exaggerating the situations, the language (with one-liners, jokes, etc.), and the use of dark satirical relationships between characters makes this film work well. The plot driven presentations, portraying realistic characters, settings, life situations give great intense character development and interaction. Yet, the romantic theme is always hanging over head with use of flashback scenes, to keep the audiences' attention on the affairs of the heart that center on the passion and emotion young Nora and Jose ( Marina de Tavira and Juan Pablo Medina) shared.

The large ensemble cast includes Juan Carlos Colombo, Angelina Pelaez, Ari Brickman, Cecelia Suarez, Arantza Moreno, Vanya Moreno, Veronica Langer, Rodrigo Cachero, Jorge Eduardo Cardova and Martin LaSalle make a perfect fit for a hilarious take of a serious matter.

Gerald Wright
National Association of Black Journalists
Film Showcase

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