‘Disobedience’ trailer shows promise for underrepresented LGBT communities

Sunday, February 4, 2018 - 10:41pm

If David Fincher directed “Carol” (2015) in an Orthodox Jewish community, it would look a lot like “Disobedience.” Based on the novel of the same name by Naomi Alderman, “Disobedience” tackles homosexuality within the confines of the isolated and restrictive Ultra-Orthodox London community of Hendon. The trailer evokes the pace and tone of a thriller filled with forbidden passion and desire while touching on the more nuanced themes of the constricting boundaries of the Orthodox Jewish world. When Ronit (Rachel Weisz, “Denial”) returns to the community that exiled her for her sexuality to mourn her Rabbi father’s death, she encounters her former lesbian lover, Esti (Rachel McAdams, “Spotlight”). Since their affair, Esti has married Ronit’s cousin and her father’s successor, Dovid (Alessandro Nivola, “American Hustle”). The film, directed and adapted for the screen by Chilean director Sebastián Lelio (“A Fantastic Woman,” which happens to be nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars this year) is yet another step in the right direction for representation of homosexual love stories, even Jewish homosexual love stories, on screen. We have come a long way from “Kissing Jessica Stein” (2001) in terms of Jewish homosexuality with a bond beyond stars of David and circumcisions with Elio and Oliver in “Call Me by Your Name” (2017). Hopefully, “Disobedience” will serve to provide a similar lens of visibility to those underrepresented stories in Hollywood. Similarly, “Disobedience” sheds light on the equally underrepresented world of the Orthodox community. The year 2017 saw A24’s Yiddish film “Menashe,” taking place in New York’s Hasidic Williamsburg with real-life Hasidim and Netflix’s documentary on life in that community in “One of Us.” Hopefully, in addition to providing visibility to the underrepresented, “Disobedience” will tell a story of intimacy and passion that has yet to be told.