'Kosher Vegetarian' in Theaters Now!
Photo from BangItOut.com (used with permission). Photo credit: Eitan Dvir
New York, I Love You, featuring "Kosher Vegetarian" and other short films, opens in theaters today. After talking to the star of "Kosher Vegetarian," real-life Jewish vegetarian Natalie Portman, this past April, I felt compelled to go to the opening midnight showing.
"Kosher Vegetarian" begins in the Manhattan office of Mansuhkhbai (Irrfan Khan), a Gujarati diamond seller. He is soon joined by Rifka (Portman), a Hasidic diamond broker who is about to get married to a man named Chaim (Abe Karpen).
Mansuhkhbai points out that he hasn't been invited to the wedding and says, "Twenty-five years I've been trading with Hasidic people. I know nothing about them. They know nothing about Jain people." Rifka replies, "Strictly business. We don't come to 47th Street to chitchat."
Then they do make small talk. At one point, Rifka assumes that Mansuhkhbai is Hindu and looks to confirm that he can't eat meat. He repeats that he's Jain, and the two compare the restrictions of a Jain vegetarian diet and a kosher diet. Rifka quips, "The Christians—they eat everything. They're like the Chinese. They never have to spend too much time picking out a restaurant."
Although Rifka explains that she won't touch men who aren't her husband, she soon doffs her sheitel to reveal her newly shaved head and Mansuhkhbai kisses her head. When she is hoisted up in a chair at her wedding, she sees Mansuhkhbai's face on Chaim's body. Mansuhkhbai is then shown daydreaming about Rifka in traditional Indian attire. Later on, though, Rifka and Chaim are shown together on a park bench. Rifka and Mansuhkhbai are not seen together again.
New York, I Love You also features a short film written and directed by Portman.
Clarification (12/31/09): The photo caption originally identified the man pictured as Abe Karpen. A comment below said that he is Eitan Dvir. The original actor quit at one point, and I do not know the name of the man in this photo. I have taken out the references to Abe Karpen in this post and one other.