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30.10.19—20:30    M (Yolande Zauberman, 2018, 105’) KASKcinema

Fifteen years ago, the now 35 year old Menahem Lang fled the ultra-orthodox Jewish community Bnei Brak, just outside Tel Aviv. He wants to return to his place of origin in an attempt to, in his own words, reconcile. Documentary maker Yolande Zauberman follows him into the caverns of the closed community.

Menahems story is by no means easy to tell. At various moments in the film, the man sings, as he used to learn as a choirboy. His songs fill gaps where memories could have been, and bring the trauma into view: this is a young man who has never been able to escape Bnei Brak completely. As Menahem more aggressively seeks his reconciliation, more and more voices emerge. Unexpected encounters show that Menahem has fellow sufferers. However, when the word is given to the older men who abused them, a silence follows.

M is an intimately observed documentary about trauma and memory, the effects of the past on the present and the walls of closed communities. Yet there is room for energy and beauty, thanks to the fascinating and charismatic main character, who switches from pain to happiness, from anger to solidarity.

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