Daniel Bettoun’s short ‘The Mori’ may be one of the most spiritually engaged shorts we’ve seen in years. ‘The Mori’ follows the story of a Yemenite man who has to find a balance between being a religious teacher and, at the same time, being a father to all of his children. The struggle does not seem that big, but in reality, spirituality involves a specific behaviour that should not change through emotional distress.
Yemenite Jews are known to be the most Jewish of all Jews, having preserved the purest form of Hebrew language. That is why when it comes to tradition, there is no turning point, no interpretation, but only a common law that should be followed.
This short is spectacular in many ways. First of all, by bringing together such a niche subject, we get to understand a culture many of us know very little about. The in-depth approach is astonishing, and we think this short is worth many history lessons. Second of all, the leading actor (played by Yoav Cohen) does an impeccable job trying to keep a fair distance between what the heart wants and what the divine law says. The scene where he is at the table with his kids, reading from the Holly book, is one of the most powerful and significant scenes we have seen in a while. There is a tension there one can feel only through opening their hearts and closing their eyes. The third and last commendable thing about ‘The Mori’ is the overall pace of it. The narrative builds up slow, but perfectly. There is no rush. For instance, when the man is in the shower, waiting for the water to clean his body, he hesitates for a second and then we can see him contemplate. The entire mystical background goes deep inside and touches the heart in mysterious ways.
‘The Mori’ is not just another short film; it is a journey you need to feel ready to embark on.
Written by Vlad A. G