Felix and Meira (Oscilloscope Pictures, R)

Felix-and-Meira 75Felix and Meira is a film that requires patience and a deeper understanding far beyond only what is seen or heard on screen.

Felix-and-Meira 500

Felix and Meira, a tender romance directed by the French-Canadian Maxime Giroux, slowly follows the development of a certain kind of romance between two people that come from opposite worlds, yet live only blocks apart.

Hadas Yaron (Fill the Void) plays Meira, the unhappy Hasidic Jewish housewife that has trouble fitting into the strict rules of the traditional religious family. At first, she rebels only by listening to nonreligious LPs and secretly taking birth control pills not wanting a second child, but after meeting Felix (Martin Dubreuil), an intriguing, nonreligious bachelor at a local coffee shop, the need to break out of the suffocating closed-minded community she finds herself in gets that much stronger. Her controlling, super-religious husband Shulem (Luzer Twersky) does not understand Meira’s unorthodox desires, and believes that she is not the ideal wife and/or mother, warning her not to bring shame on him and their daughter.

Even though the whole film progresses at a very gentle pace, it loses no time with introducing us to Meira’s inner emotions. Already in the opening sequence during a traditional orthodox dinner, we can see the struggle through her large, expressive eyes. But once she meets the persistent Felix, who is searching for meaning after his father’s death, Meira’s desire for freedom and affection only multiplies. Meira’s misery and ache to explore is completely understandable, too bad it’s not acceptable as well.

Felix and Meira is full of electrifying intimate scenes as the two are pulled towards each other by the irresistible temptation and longing for one another that grows inside them. Their powerful, lingering looks communicate the forbidden love and shared craving for the unknown that both of them have perfectly, a lot better than any spoken dialogue ever could.

Mainly set in Montreal, Yiddish, French, and English are all languages used by the given Jewish community and can be heard in this film, along with some Spanish. The icy winter weather perfectly fits the overall tone of the film; Giroux and the cinematographer Sara Mishara use dull, washed out colors to create Meira’s gloomy world, having only Felix’s drawings show some color. As they begin connect over their mutual loneliness, Meira blooms from the inside; the shots finally start to have more brightness and hue, slowly lifting the mood of the whole piece.

Nevertheless, I could argue that a couple scenes (especially during the first half) move along a little too slowly, too quietly, and are too under-lit. There is only so much waiting around and anticipation my short attention span can handle. Felix and Meira is a film that requires patience and a deeper understanding far beyond only what is seen or heard on screen. However, it also masters the art of telling a fragile love story like no other. | Lea Vrábelová

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply