David (Samuel H. Levine) is a 17-year-old from Brooklyn whose parents are Jews who immigrated to America when he was still a child. The time of the action is the mid-eighties, and David is somehow a withdrawn young man who at the same time tries to stick to the traditions and customs of the conservative Jewish community to which his family belongs, but also questions all these strict rules. Although he would rather go to public school, his mother, who was once a dentist in Russia and now works over the counter, insists she go to a Jewish school. David’s father was a boxing coach in Russia and now massages mostly middle-aged widows, and David is much closer to his grandfather Josef than to his parents.
The film, which premiered in the official program of the Berlin Festival, actually starts with something called minyan, which is a Jewish custom that could be described as a quorum of ten adult Jews needed for certain religious tasks. By entering this quorum, David will symbolically enter the circle of adults, and when he moves in with his grandfather, he will begin to explore his personality more and more. While in the circle of his parents and their friends on the wallpaper of typical Jewish themes and stories of the Holocaust, David is increasingly interested in the outside world. After being expelled from the Jewish school, his wish will be fulfilled and he will go to a public school and there he will get closer to a colleague. At the same time, he will start touring New York gay bars and exploring his side.
He will start in parallel almost and lead two lives. One for the family and the Jewish community, and the other in which he will try to satisfy his curiosity, and all this is happening in the midst of the AIDS epidemic that hit the American homosexual community the hardest at that time. “Minyan” proved to be an interesting, mysterious and personal story about the growing up and maturing of a young man who found himself at a real turning point. As time goes on it will become clearer that it is becoming increasingly difficult to balance these two lives and David will have to decide what to choose – a life to suit his family and the conservative traditional Jewish community or a life he really wants and cares about. Rating 6.5 / 10.
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