• Released
  • July 11, 2003
  • R , 1 hr 36 min
  • Drama
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A young man discovers the holiest city in the world can also be full of seductive temptations and ethical challenges in this independent coming-of-age drama. Mendy (Oren Rehany) is the son of a devout Orthodox Jewish family in Tel Aviv. Mendy has been raised to become a man of the cloth, and after completing his basic education, he travels to Jerusalem to attend rabbinical school. However, Mendy soon discovers that Jerusalem is a larger and more cosmopolitan city than the Tel Aviv neighborhood where he was raised, and as he tries to satisfy his curiosity about the larger world around him, he finds himself seriously tempted for the first by the forbidden pleasures of the secular life. Mendy strikes up an unlikely friendship with Mike (Saul Stein), the owner of a local tavern that serves as a watering hole for eccentrics and outsiders of all stripes, whom Mendy gets to know on a first name basis. Mendy also finds himself thinking about sex, and one of his teachers suggests he visit a brothel as a way of confronting his sinful urges head on. There, he meets Sacha (Tchelet Semel), a Russian girl his age whose tragic story and luminous beauty make a strong impression upon him. Also screened under the title The Jerusalem Syndrome, The Holy Land was the first feature film from writer and director Eitan Gorlin, an Israeli expatriate who himself attended rabbinical school before dropping out to explore the possibilities of secular life in the United States. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Provided by Rovi