My Yiddishe Mama's Dream | Chicago Reader

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This 1999 TV documentary introduces us to opera conductor Daniel Oren, who rose to fame in Italy and Israel and holds himself up as an exemplar of Arab-Israeli heritage. Oren's father is descended from a wealthy Yemeni tribe, while his strong-willed mother came from an Orthodox Jewish family; except for a common interest in their son's musical education, the parents didn't get along. The film's interviews are woven into a story line of Oren preparing to conduct a lavish Franco Zeffirelli production of La boheme in Tel Aviv. The low-grade backstage footage is suspenseful and revealing, but the parallel between Mimi dying in Rodolfo's arms and Oren cradling his gravely ill mother is a bit much. Director Asher Tlalim doesn't probe too deeply into Oren's ambivalence toward his devoted mother, and his uncritical look at the maestro's rise would have warmed mama's heart. 62 min.

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