Felix and Meira a 105 minute long film from Director Maxime Girous is a touching film about Meira, a Hasidic wife and mother who's not happy in the life she's leading. Bound by the strict rules of her society, she becomes hard work and a bit of an embarrassment for her husband who tries to tell her to accept that this IS her life. Trapped by tradition she displays a lot of boredom in situations and at times becoming childish; symbolically strangling her headband, as she herself is stifled by her life.
Felix on the other hand is an eccentric French Canadian man who has lived a life of indulgence without putting in a lot of work to earn it. Mourning the death of his father along with his sister Caroline, he happens upon Meira and her child at Tatys Pizza. Being flirtatious, without any encouragement from Meira, he chases her down to give the child a gift of a drawing he had made which she totally ignores.
Meira is not looking for another man, she just wants something more than her limited environment offers. Her husband Shulem is soft spoken and genuinely loves her even though he's frustrated by her behaviour. Over time and with Felix's persistence, their connection soon blossoms into a friendship as he guides her towards the existence of life beyond restrictions. As they open up to each other more and more, they begin to see the possibilities that lie beyond their worlds.
Eventually found out by her husband that she's meeting another man, Meira is confronted with decisions she must make. She will have to decide whether to remain in the only life she's ever known, or give it all up to be with Felix.
Starring Hadas Yaron as Meira, Martin Dubreuil as Felix and Luzer Twersky as Meira's husband Shulem, the performances are as touching as they are powerful, giving some small insight into some of the traditions of Hasidic Judaism. This tale of self-discovery was a huge hit on the festival circuit, winning awards at the Toronto, Chicago and San Sebastian film festivals.
An elegant film that refuses to pass judgement on any of its richly-drawn characters, it's interesting to note that Luzer Twersky (Meira's on screen husband) himself escaped Hasidic Judaism and went from living on the streets to being a Hollywood actor. For your interest, CLICK HERE to read about it in a Huffington Post article.
Look up the JIFF website, Facebook page and Event Page to see a wonderful selection of 60 world class offering of Australian premieres at the festival. You can download the program HERE if you haven't already picked up a hard copy.