The Awakening of Motti Wolkenbruch, Switzerland’s Oscar entry on NETFLIX


The Awakening of Motti Wolkenbruch, is a very funny and intelligently made movie by Michael Steiner.  The Awakening of Motti Wolkenbruch is Switzerland’s Oscar entry selection and had a great box office revenues in that country  and now is ready to stream on NETFLIX.

At Cinema Without Borders we had the opportunity of interviewing Michael Steiner about making of The Awakening of Motti Wolkenbruch. Please listen to the podcast of this interview:

The Awakening of Motti Wolkenbruch,  is the story of  Motti Wolkenbruch , a  young man that through all his life has behaved, and lived up to his family‘s expectations, especially those of his orthodoxy religious MAME. As a devout Jew she envisions a precise route for Motti‘s life: She wishes to see him marry well, and proceeds to invite suitable young female candidates to a succession of match-making events.

To Motti‘s chagrin most of these girls bear an uncanny resemblance to the Mame herself. The young man resists, suspecting that life has other, more exciting avenues on offer for him to explore. Soon his heart is ignited, as he furtively falls for beautiful LAURA  during a chance encounter at his university.Laura is very different from the women presented to him by his Mame. She wears body- hugging jeans and introduces him to gin-and-tonic cocktails. There is a flaw, however: Laura is a Shiksa, and thus taboo for a devout Jew. Still, Motti wishes to appeal, and he proceeds to trim his beard and get new, more stylish glasses. Thus, in his Mame‘s eyes, abetting the eradication of the very essence of Jewdom.

In her desperation the Mame seeks the advice of the rabbi. He recommends sending Motti on an edifying trip to Israel in order to find himself a pretty and suitably devout young bride there. However, the relatives who host him reside in the secular part of Tel Aviv, where they run a yoga studio where little distinction is made between Om and Shalom. Motti immerses himself into a new world and experiences his first erotic adventure with the alluring Yael.

Not seriously in love, but with new-found confidence, Motti returns to Zurich, more determined to follow his inclinations and continue to meet Laura, whereupon the Mame evicts him from the family home.

Alone in his hotel room Motti must take a decision: Should he pursue a traditional way of life ensconced in the comfort of his family‘s protection, or venture out on a wondrous journey into self-determination in the arms of a Shiksa…


About Author

Bijan Tehrani

Bijan Tehrani a film director, film critic and writer, works as editor in chief of Cinema Without Borders while teaching Language of Film and Film History at workshops nationwide. Bijan has won several awards in international film festivals and book fairs for his short films and children's books.

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