An Israel Film Center Review of This is Sodom
When Adam Sanderson and Muli Segev’s This is Sodom was released last summer in Israel, it broke Israeli records for the most ticket sales in a film's opening weekend and beat out major Hollywood films that debuted in Israel around the same time, including the summer blockbuster Inception. Over 100,000 tickets for the movie were sold in the first four days. No one expected the movie to be added to any award list, but, last year, it received five nominations for the Ophir Awards and won an award for Best Supporting Actress. Presenting the relationship between God and Abraham and the birth of monotheism and Judaism as a business venture, This is Sodom takes its cues from both Monty Python and “South Park.” The cast is from Eretz Nehederet, an Israeli television show similar to America’s Saturday Night Live -- and the humor in This is Sodom takes some cues from there, too.This is Sodom roughly follows the story of Lot and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. From there, we meet Michael and Gabriel, angels portrayed as motorcycle-mounted police officers, and Lot, the only citizen of Sodom who gambles legally -- by selling lottery tickets to raise money for the construction of a children’s community center.The film opens with God and Abraham making a deal. Then we meet Lot and see his struggle with the king of Sodom after the king discovers that his city is doomed for destruction and that only Lot is to be saved. The rest of the film follows Lot and the king as the king struggles to impersonate Lot so that he will be saved instead. Meanwhile, Lot’s wife begins working against him to save herself and the king after being promised a comeback from her fall from stardom after her hit singles, “Know Me” and “Know Me: The Remix.”Most of the slapstick humor in the film pokes fun at various intricacies within Judaism and the different horrors that the citizens of Sodom were said to have committed before their destruction: we see Abraham eating shellfish, Lot’s wife serving salt soup, pickles in brine, and saltines for dinner. Other humor pokes fun at politics: the archway that covers the entrance into Sodom is roughly a depiction of the United States’ Congress, and, when the angels meet Hagar (after she's thrown out of Abraham’s household), she says that her son, now feeling oppressed, might have to express his emotions by riding a camel into a tent while wearing explosives.This is Sodom provides a humorous perspective on what is probably one of the Bible’s most famous stories. Although I -- having gone to a Jewish day school for elementary school -- considered my knowledge of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah to be relatively complete, This is Sodom filled in the gaps in my knowledge that I never knew existed.
The JCC Manhattan will be screening This is Sodom
this fall! Click here for more information.