International Works in Progress
Ruth, a 22-year-old ultra-orthodox Jewish mother, sees her life shattered to pieces one morning. Her husband Shmuel, a prodigious student marked for greatness, makes a fatal mistake that causes the death of their only child Srulik, a sweet toddler eagerly awaiting his first ceremonial haircut on his third birthday. The shattered dreams and unimaginable pain lead Ruth to question and actively undermine her place in society for the first time in her life. While Shmuel tries to atone in traditional ways, she chooses practical means and subversive expressions of independence within the limitations of her religious community.
Director's note: “I have chosen the way of faithfulness” says King David in the book of Psalms. Is the way of faithfulness a choice? After all, we are born into it and are conditioned to the comfort and support it provides.
I wish to examine the safe, innocent faith of a young orthodox woman whose life, once devoted to her husband’s religious studies, comes crashing against a cruel, unbearable reality. I want to take her to the edge, have her deal with the painful abandonment of her son – for which her husband is responsible, and God’s abandonment of her secure life.
The two core systems of her young life are being tested – her faith and her relationship. Both are dependent on each other.
My point of view is not without criticism of the superficial interpretations of faith, and the dubious methods the orthodox community employs to heal the heartaches of life. But the same point of view is also saturated with love and the understanding that these methods also provide stability and security.