Hatuna Meuheret [Late Marriage] (2001)

Hatuna Meuheret
Director: Dover Koshashvili
Writer: Dover Koshashvili
Cast: Lior Ashkenazi, Ronit Elkabetz, Moni Moshonov, Lili Koshashvili, Aya Steinovitz, Rozina Cambos, Simon Chen, Sapir Kugman, Dina Doron, Leonid Kanevskiy, Libia Hakmon, Eli Turi, Maria Ovanov
Part of: We Are One Film Festival
Seen on: 31.5.2020

Plot:
Zaza (Lior Ashkenazi) is over 30 years old and about to finish his PhD. For his family this means one thing: he really needs to get married. Tradition demands that he marries a young virgin and so they have brought him to girl after girl, but Zaza never found the right one among them. The truth is, Zaza doesn’t want any of the girls his parents find for him because he is already very much in love with Judith (Ronit Elkabetz). But Judith is divorced and has a child already – Zaza’s family could never accept that and things are bound to come to a head soon.

Hatuna Meuheret is an engaging, but also somehow unsatisfying film .I appreciated it, but I didn’t like it very much.

The film poster showing Zaza (Lior Ashkenazi) holding up his left hand with a wedding ring. Judith (Ronit Elkabetz) can be seen in the mirror.

[SPOILERS]

Hatuna Meuheret seems like it is heading towards the family drama we’re used to getting in a RomCom – the kind that ends happily after all. And it’s not just that it makes the audience believe that this is what’s going to happen, Zaza himself seems to believe that that is what is life is, too. He believes in his own happy end. He is so convinced of it that he risks it all – and loses.

This not only means that he can’t convince his family of Judith’s worth, he hurts Judith and her daughter in the process and not just a little bit. And in the end when he submits to his family’s wishes, there is nobody really who is happy anymore – only tradition itself is satisfied, but not any of the people obeying it appear to be, really.

Zaza (Lior Ashkenazi) and Judith (Ronit Elkabetz) on the sofa as they face his family.

This, to me, was a very interesting narrative choice, but also one that wasn’t very easy to take. Because I took my lead from Zaza’s behavior and I expected that happy ending, too. Although I have to say that there is definitely room for me to see some happiness in Judith’s future – Zaza isn’t un-dickish. There are quite a few moments where I wanted to slap him. Hard.

The film certainly isn’t bad. Ashkenazi and even more so Elkabetz are fantastic and have good chemistry. Lili Koshashvili – Zaza’s mother – is the real scene-stealer though. The pacing is nice and the film remains engaging throughout. It just ends on such a low note, it made me gulp.

Zaza (Lior Ashkenazi) talking to one prospective bride.

Summarizing: interesting enough.

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