After the sudden passing of his author wife, a Jewish cantor (Jason Schwartzman) finds himself deep in the throes of a crisis of faith that has his questioning everything from his career to his own worth. When he crosses paths with his childhood music teacher (Carol Kane), herself at a turning point in life, his misery and her meshuggah send the pair into orbit around one another. Together they decide she’ll have her long-awaited Bat Mitzvah, despite the fact that she’s in her 70s. Between Two Temples, written and directed by Nathan Silver, explores this unexpected relationship at the intersection of faith, expectation, and love, using humor and heart to examine how what makes sense on paper is rarely what the heart yearns for.

The decidedly indie Between Two Temples feels like a relic of film festival yesteryear, from the niche New Yorker humor to the retro analog look, uncomfortable energy, and chaotic editing. The maudlin, flirty pairing of Schwartzman and Kane calls to mind Harold and Maude though Ben and Carla’s relationship has the added dimension of their family’s disappointment – Ben’s at his inability to swallow his suffering and play by the rules; Carla’s at her late-in-life conversion to Judaism – as additional baggage. The pair’s undeniable offbeat chemistry carries Silver’s feature, propelling it forward even when the loose plotting tends to meander.

From a directorial standpoint, Between the Temples is very much an experience rich in “choices”. Between the film’s grainy texture, odd zooms, and handheld intimacy, audiences may struggle with the film’s offbeat visual identity as this is about as far from modern day Netflix-ified gloss as you can get. If you told me that this film was shot and cut 15 to 20 years ago, I would absolutely believe it, as there’s almost nothing in it to indicate otherwise. But as a nostalgic throwback to the kinds of movies that used to define and dominate film festivals – an unorthodox rom-com that’s a little bit prickly and a little bit nourishing, certain to attract its small band of admirers, destined to remain little seen  – Between the Temples is its own little minchah.


Check out our full 2024 Sundance International Film Festival coverage here.

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The post Sundance ’24: Love and Faith Collide ‘BETWEEN THE TEMPLES’ In Quirky Jewish Rom-Com appeared first on Silver Screen Riot.

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