This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001

22Aug/14

KABBALAH ME

KABBALAH ME

Steven E. Bram goes on a very personal spiritual quest in KABBALAH ME

KABBALAH ME (Steven E. Bram & Judah Lazarus, 2014)
Quad Cinema
34 West 13th St. between Fifth & Sixth Aves.
Opens Friday, August 22
212-255-2243
www.quadcinema.com
www.kabbalahme.com

Approaching fifty, Steven E. Bram was looking for something different in his life. A maker of sports documentaries, a New York Jets fan, and a Dead Head, Bram realizes, “I’m hungry for a deeper kind of spirituality,” as he says in his new film, Kabbalah Me. “The challenge is where to find it.” Bram thinks he may have found it when he is led into the world of Kabbalah, the mysterious and mystical side of Judaism. The married father of two heads off in search of faith and wisdom in the film, which he made with music video director Judah Lazarus, journeying from Crown Heights to Jerusalem as he attempts to fill this major void in his life by investigating the myriad mysteries of Kabbalah. The pilgrimage leads him to relatives he’s never met before and charismatic rabbis, every one of whom has a unique interpretation of not only what Kabbalah is but when someone should enter its realm; one rabbi considers it dessert after the big meal of traditional Judaism, but others believe it’s open to anyone at any time. Meanwhile, Bram’s wife, Miriam, and his business partner, Bob Potter, are confused about his search; his spouse, in particular, is concerned about whether her husband is going to become a different person from the man she married — and, as the film shows, these are certainly legitimate fears. “I guess I have to take it one step at a time,” she says. “I mean, I prefer he not be too extreme because that would be in conflict with what I want.” But the seemingly kindhearted Bram continues his quest for fulfillment in what can certainly be considered selfish ways, and that can be a bit off-putting to viewers who don’t know him. His friends in the film may give him the benefit of the doubt, but to strangers he can come off as more than a bit overly self-involved. In addition, viewers looking to learn a lot about Kabbalah from the film will be disappointed, as it only breaches the surface with multiple explanations, resulting in more questions than answers. But Bram still manages to be an engaging character, and it’s easy to follow his exploration while wondering if there’s anything missing in your own life. Kabbalah Me opens August 22 at the Quad, with several weekend screenings followed by a Q&A with Bram.

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