THE WEDDING PLAN
About The Production
When Michal, the Orthodox heroine of The Wedding Plan, finds herself suddenly
un-engaged at the age of 32, she hits on a decidedly unorthodox scheme. Rather
than giving up, she continues with the arrangements for the wedding she has long
dreamt of, putting her faith in the belief that God will provide her with a
Writer-director Rama Burshtein found the inspiration for her unconventional
romantic comedy in a story she heard about two couples that both dearly wanted
to have a child. "So they all went to a righteous man to get a blessing," she
says. "He told both couples that in a year they would have a son. The next year
they all came back, but one had a son and the other one didn't. When the couple
that didn't have a child asked why, he said it was because the first couple went
out and bought a baby carriage. I love that story. It says that it's not enough
to get the blessing. You have to believe in the blessing. Once you do something
to show your belief, you open the possibility."
Although The Wedding Plan's protagonist is a deeply religious woman, the film
is not about religion, says Burshtein. "It is a journey of faith," she explains.
"Anyone can relate to Michal's dilemma. The fact that she is religious is only
set dressing. Faith has nothing to do with religion. It's about being either a
believer or a nonbeliever. Do you believe in good? Do you believe that
everything is possible? These are not questions of religion. It's a journey we
all take and I think this is why people all over the world have enjoyed this
Michal, like Burshtein herself, was raised in a secular family and only came
to religious life as an adult. After more than 10 years of matchmakers, blind
dates and disappointment, Michal believes she has finally found her soul mate,
only to have the rug pulled out from under her at the last moment. In a world
where marriage represents love, family, companionship and social acceptance, she
is wondering if she will ever find what she is searching for.
At first glance, Michal is not the kind of woman one would expect to take
such a bold step, observes Burshtein. "She's scared and she doesn't have a lot
of self-confidence. She's a normal woman - the girl next door. That's not the
type you would picture taking a risk like this. She's not wild, but she's very
honest and she's not afraid to speak her heart in terms of being vulnerable and
being true. So, as Michal says, she's got the date, she's got the wedding gown,
she's got the apartment. She believes that God would not be this cruel."
The film's Hebrew title, which translates as Through the Wall, was changed
because to some American audiences it sounded more like a political drama than a
romantic comedy, but its symbolism remains strong for Burshtein. A reference to
a chance meeting Michal has with a possible suitor, it also has a more mystical
meaning. "It's not about climbing the wall and it's not opening the door in the
wall," the director says. "It's passing through it. This is how dramatic, even
miraculous, what Michal does is for her. She suddenly finds herself on the other
side of the wall. Even though it's kind of a crazy story, when people see the
movie, they believe it can happen. Somehow they suddenly feel they can go
through the wall to the other side."
The date of Michal's planned wedding, the eighth day of Hanukkah, also has
special significance. Each candle in the menorah represents a specific blessing.
The eighth and final candle traditionally represents a beacon of peace and
happiness. "She is insisting on that date only because it was the date she
picked with the guy she was supposed to marry," according to Burshtein. "But I
picked the day carefully. The eighth candle of Hanukkah is like the world
beyond. This life has only seven parts. The eighth part is the world of faith
and belief. That's from Kabbalah, the mystic side of Judaism."
Burshtein's previous film, Fill the Void, also dealt with matters of faith
and marriage from a completely different but equally personal point of view. "I
think I will always do movies that are connected to men and women because that
is the most interesting thing to me," says the director. "In my world, the only
way to consummate love is through marriage. This is our rule. So my films may
seem like they are about marriage, but they are about love. So if it's a happy
story it's going to end up with marriage. This is our way."
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