Office Christmas Party
Another reminder that allowing your cast to madly improvise instead of actually providing a coherent script with a scintilla of inherent logic often leads to…
When children are grown they must be set free to lead their own lives. Otherwise it's no longer a parent guiding a child, but one adult insisting on authority over another. Wise parents step back before they cross this line. Wise children rebel against parents who do not. "Late Marriage" is about parents who insist on running the life of their 31-year-old son, and a son who lets them. The characters deserve their misery.
The film is set in Israel, within a community of Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet republic of Georgia. Zaza at 31 has still not filled his obligation to marry and produce children. His parents have marched a parade of potential wives past him, without success. His secret is that he's in love with Judith, a divorcee from Morocco, four years older, with a daughter. His parents would never approve of Zaza marrying such a woman.
As the movie opens, Zaza and his family descend on the home of Ilana, a sulky 17-year-old who has been proposed as a prospective bride. There may be a difference in age and education, but at least she is single, childless, and arguably a virgin. In a scene of excruciating social comedy, the two families arrange themselves in the living room and discuss Zaza and Ilana as if they were this week's Tupperware specials. Then Ilana is produced and the would-be couple dispatched to her bedroom "to get to know one another." "Is that a dress or a nightgown?" Zaza (Lior Loui Ashkenazi) asks her when they are alone. "What do you think?" asks Ilana (Aya Steinovits Laor). She shows him her portfolio and confides her desire to be a dress designer. She seems to be designing for the hostesses in an Havana hooker bar, circa 1959. "I want a rich man," she tells him. Obviously he will not do, but they fall on her bed and neck for a while until summoned back to the family council.
Zaza's parents find out about Judith (Ronit Elkabetz), the divorcee. They stake out her house and eventually break in upon the romantic couple, calling Judith a whore and demanding that the relationship end. Does Zaza stand up to his mother, Lily (Lili Kosashvili, the director's own mother)? No, he doesn't, and Judith sees this, and wisely drops him because there is no future for her.