19 October 2020 | Red-125
Rough around the edges
Tahara (2020) was directed by Olivia Peace. According to a website, "Olivia Peace (she/they) is a queer black interdisciplinary artist from Detroit, Michigan living in Los Angeles." This film was completed during their fellowship year at the Sundance Institute.
The movie stars Madeline Grey DeFreece as Carrie Lowstein, Rachel Sennott as Hannah Rosen, and Daniel Taveras as Tristan Leibotwitz. There's an unusual triangular plot line that's obviously important to director Peace.
However, the core of the story--for me--is that the three young people are in a synagogue at a memorial service for one of their classmates. It turns out that the young woman committed suicide, presumably because she was shunned by her peers.
However, director Peace skews away from this important plot to concentrate on Carrie, Hannah, and Tristan. The plot involving these three didn't really work for me, so I didn't enjoy the film.
It's interesting that Tahara was filmed inside Temple Beth-El of Rochester, NY. Temple Beth-El should be commended for allowing a movie involving lesbian attraction to be completed inside the synagogue.
Some day director Peace may be a famous cinematic celebrity, and people will search out this film to see their early work. However, for me, the movie has "student production" in every frame. It's rough around the edges, and the acting isn't great. Everyone has to start somewhere.
We saw Tahara as part of Rochester's wonderful ImageOut LGBT Film Festival. (Virtual this year.) This movie has only a handful of IMDb ratings, but so far it's rated at 7.4. I didn't think it was that good, and rated it 6.