Shiva Baby with Lemon

Shiva Baby with Lemon

Shiva Baby
Adapted from their short film of the same name, Emma Seligman’s micro-budget feature film debut again casts It-girl Rachel Sennott as Danielle, a young bisexual woman whose worlds collide at a shiva in her family’s tight-knit Jewish community. Sennott and her quirky timing provide the perfect vessel for the script’s whip-smart dialogue in this anxiety-laden Gen Z comedy. Premiering at the 2020 South by Southwest Film Festival, which moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Shiva Baby finally found massive appeal on the streaming service MUBI, where it was the streamer’s most-watched film of 2021, and has received praise for its nuanced representations of Jewish and female bisexual identities.

DIRECTED/WRITTEN BY: Emma Seligman. WITH: Rachel Sennott, Molly Gordon, Polly Draper, Danny Deferrari. 2020. 77 min. USA. Color. English. DCP.

Named Best Jewish Director of the year by feminist pop culture website Hey Alma for her Sundance-premiering Zola (2020), Janicza Bravo’s feature debut, Lemon, co-written with then-partner Brett Gelman, is thus far her most distinctly Jewish film. Centered on failed actor Isaac Lachmann (Gelman), his floundering career, and his dysfunctional family, the film’s mounting, awkward tension hits fever-pitch at a particularly uncomfortable Passover seder. Establishing her visual style and distinct brand of dark humor, Bravo also views Lemon as a sort of exorcism: “We had to [...] make fun of ourselves and know that [it] wasn’t going to be our destiny.”

DIRECTED BY: Janicza Bravo. WRITTEN BY: Janicza Bravo, Brett Gelman. WITH: Brett Gelman, Judy Greer, Michael Cera, Shiri Appleby. 2017. 83 min. USA. Color. English. DCP.

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