Thursday, August 21, 2014

Movie with Abe: Kabbalah Me

Kabbalah Me
Directed by Steven Bram and Judah Lazarus
Released August 22, 2014

The grammar of this film’s title is certainly questionable. Yet its meaning is easy to decipher as one man’s invitation to explore the world of the phenomenon known as kabbalah. What Steven Bram’s documentary does is enable his viewer to explore the journey into spirituality with him, learning all about kabbalah and what it has to offer. “Kabbalah Me” is a pointed and purposeful examination of how a movement transformed a filmmaker but also what its greater significance is to those seeking some sort of connection as well as to those who simply want to know more about this mystic strand of Judaism.

Bram is a filmmaker who has made a number of sports documentaries, and who here takes a very personal approach to his subject matter. Chronicling his Jewish roots and his difficulty connecting to the religion throughout his life, Bram begins to discuss the notion of kabbalah and its universal accessibility. As the title suggests, Bram’s search is a jovial one, filled with many humorous and enjoyable moments, and far from a serious and isolating trip that requires viewers to be on the inside of all the references and concepts along the way.

“Kabbalah Me” sheds a light on what it means to approach Judaism and its many facets with a spiritual microscope. What it doesn’t do is attempt to proselytize: while Bram clearly advocates for the effectiveness of this discovery in his personal life, he doesn’t mean to brainwash his audience or convince them that this is the answer to everyone’s problems. Instead, he looks at it in an energizing and inspiring manner, asking viewers, who wouldn’t want to be transformed and impacted in such an incredible way?

Clocking in at just eighty minutes, Bram and Judah Lazarus’ film isn’t meant to be comprehensive. In fact, its main message is that this is just the beginning. Bram has begun a journey that will keep him involved and enthralled throughout his entire life, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. Bram’s immersion and interest in his topic is a positive rather than a negative, allowing him to fully represent his passion to the film’s advantage. For those looking for a nonjudgmental, entertaining investigation, this is a great documentary that merely seeks to spotlight a movement and how it motivated one filmmaker to turn the camera on himself and his life.


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