By ERIN ROLL
It was a full house at Montclair Kimberley Academy on Saturday evening
for the screening of Rachel Weisz’s film “Disobedience,” even without the Q&A,
which was canceled.
“Disobedience” is the story of Ronit Kruschka, an Orthodox Jewish woman from London who has been living a sort of exile in New York as a photographer. She returns to London after receiving news that her estranged father, a prominent rabbi, has just died. It is gradually revealed to the viewer that Ronit, a lesbian, has become estranged from her
family and their community because of her sexuality. Upon arrival back in London, she finds that her childhood friend, and onetime lover, Esti (Rachel McAdams), is now married to Dovid: another childhood friend and the heir apparent to Ronit’s father. Over the course of the film, Ronit and Esti find themselves navigating their still-lingering feelings
for each other, while trying to avoid the disapproval and suspicion of the people
One line in particular, a remark from Esti that women change their names every day upon marriage and end up losing their entire history, generated a loud “ooooh” and some laughter from the audience.
“Disobedience” is based on the novel by the same name by Naomi Alderman.
Sebastian Leilo directs, and Weisz is one of the producers on the project. The film
was released on a limited basis last year in New York and Los Angeles.
Weisz herself comes from a culturally Jewish background in London. Her father’s family arrived in Britain to escape the Nazis during World War II. In 2016’s Denial, Weisz played Deborah Lipstadt, a professor of Holocaust studies who faced a legal battle from a writer who claimed that there were no gas chambers
in the concentration camps.
At the start of the screening, Tom Hall, the executive director of the Montclair Film Festival, announced that Weisz had to return to New York, and was therefore unable to do the scheduled Q&A after the screening of “Disobedience.”