Nora’s Will opens today @ Chicago’s Music Box Theater. Here’s what I wrote back in April when I saw Nora’s Will (alone on a DVD screener) before it premiered locally at the 2010 Chicago Latino Film Festival:
This year’s Chicago Latino Film Festival features Nora’s Will (Cinco días sin Nora), a Mexican dramedy written and directed by Mariana Chenillo. The central character is “José” (played by veteran actor Fernando Luján). José and Nora have been divorced for decades, but their lives are still entwined and neither ever moved on to a new partner. Then Nora suddenly dies, and José quickly finds himself in conflict with various Rabbis who have rigid rules on when, where, and how to bury her.
Chenillo has a light touch, and I wish I could whole-heartedly recommend Nora’s Will. But even after a second screening, I couldn’t quite put all the pieces together. José is a fully realized, well-crafted character, but Nora remains a mystery.
I saw Nora’s Will again, for the third time, at a sold-out CLFF screening at the Landmark Century, & while it was clear to me that audience reaction was overwhelmingly positive, I left with the same questions…
Alas, I’m forced to conclude that Nora’s Will is only a partial success. José is a great character & I enjoyed all his real-time interactions with his community (including all the family & friends–Jews & Goyim–of Mexico City). But José’s memories of Nora are scattershot, & her character (as depicted on screen) simply makes no sense to me.
Fernando Lujan as “José” in Nora’s Will:
Under pressure home & with his granddaughters at the cemetery.
Photo Credit: Menemsha Films