Feature. 99 min.
In Hebrew with English subtitles.
As vividly entertaining and visually styled as a Martin Scorsese film, The Unorthodox dramatizes the underdog story of Israel’s Shas (“Torah-Observant Sephardim”) political party and its unexpectedly stunning rise to power as told through the incredible account of its founder. When Yaakov Cohen’s (Shuli Rand) daughter is expelled from an Ashkenazi school due to her Mizrahi heritage, he decides to fight back. It’s 1983 and Yaakov, a widowed printer in Jerusalem, has no money, no connections, and no political experience. Fueled by only willpower and a raging sense of inequity, Yaakov and his friends unite to form Shas. A nascent challenge to the ruling Ashkenazi establishment, their grassroots movement sets off one of the strangest, most surprising, and moving elections Israel has ever seen. Based on actual events, Eliran Malka’s accomplished feature debut is animated with suspense and humor, relating a tale of underdog activism and shady politics which continues to reverberate today.
Director: Eliran Malka.
Starring: Shuli Rand, Yaacov Cohen, Yoav Levi and Shifi Aloni