A couple of years ago, we blogged about the movie Out of Faith, a documentary that “follows three generations of a family torn apart by conflicts over interfaith marriage.” Since its debut, it has played at dozens of film festivals, theaters and community centers around the country. If you weren’t able to see the movie, you will now have the opportunity to see the film on PBS.
Between now and May 10, 2009, PBS will be airing a one hour version of the theatrical release. As we said before, “the movie offers viewers a lot to talk about in informal as well as formal contexts, such as the synagogue classroom and sanctuary.” But this film was not originally to be about intermarriage. It was intended to follow a Holocaust survivor as she reconnected with her country of origin and the painful memories associated with it. When the filmmaker discovered the sub-theme of intermarriage in this family where she is the matriarch, she decided to make that the theme of the movie. That is the way documentaries emerge.
While it is an unflinching look at the subject through the lens of the filmmaker and a particular family—and it does have a few optimistic moments in the film, especially through the surprising voice of the woman’s orthodox rabbi which we applaud, and her own realization about her actions at the end—it is not a film that would be considered optimistic and hopeful. We fear this documentary can be used as a cautionary tale about all intermarriages when it is really just one family’s story. The entire American intermarriage story cannot be told through just one family; we know there are many other stories to tell. Still, when seen as the story of just one family, it is very powerful.
Click here to check your local listings to find the next time Out of Faith will air in your community.