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Bee Season

©Foxsearchlight 2005
Directed by Scott McGehee
David Siegel
Produced by Albert Berger
Ron Yerxa
Peggy Rajski (executive)
Mark Romanek (executive)
Arnon Milchan (executive)
Written by Myla Goldberg (novel),
Naomi Foner
Starring Richard Gere
Juliette Binoche
Flora Cross
Max Minghella
Kate Bosworth
Music by Peter Nashel
Studio Regency Enterprises
Distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures
Release date(s) September 3, 2005
Running time 104 min.
Language English
Budget $14,000,000

Bee Season is a 2005 feature film based on the 2000 novel by Myla Goldberg. The film was directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel and written by Naomi Foner. It stars Richard Gere and Juliette Binoche.

Contents

Plot

Saul Naumann (Gere) is a somewhat controlling Jewish husband and father. A Religious Studies professor at UC Berkeley, Saul wrote his graduate thesis on the Kabbalah. A devout Jew, his wife Miriam (Binoche) converted to Judaism when they married, and he nurtured his son Aaron (Minghella) into a traditional studious Jew like him. When Eliza (Cross) wins her class spelling bee, they embark on a course of Kabbalah study to help her win. The film follows the family and the spiritual quests upon which they journey, in large part because of Saul: Miriam's attempt to make herself whole, Aaron's religious uncertainty, and Eliza's desire to be closer to her father. The regional bee is filmed at the Albany High school gym. Miriam lives a secret life throughout her entire marriage to Saul, trying to fulfill the religious idea she learned from him, tikkun olam, or "repairing the world" and "reuniting its shards." She takes this meaning literally and slowly collects trinkets she finds beautiful (sometimes breaking into people's houses and stealing them) and storing them in a warehouse, trying to hold the light of God in them. Saul's son, Aaron, grows unsure of the Judaism foisted on him by his father, and in trying to find a faith he personally believes in, he becomes a Hare Krishna after meeting a woman named Chali in the park. For Eliza, her experience begins with a desire to be as close to her father as he and Aaron are; the two would often have discussions about Judaism and play music together. Saul's graduate thesis on Kabbalah writer Abraham Abulafia (who believed that careful analysis of words could lead to contact with God) brings Saul and Eliza closer together when Saul learns Eliza has won the district spelling bee. Upon learning of her success Saul takes control of Eliza's life, trying to coach her with the Kabbalah teachings he knows so well (humorously ending up much like the controlling parents stereotypically seen in childhood competitions like spelling bees, though with different reasons). Eliza enjoys the renewed attention of her father and pursues the competition with her father's involvement. This comes at the expense of Aaron, who receives less time with Saul, even as he falls deeper into his religious dubiosity. At the center of the film, Eliza becomes Saul's newest religious project. Eliza continues to do well at spelling bees seemingly because of a higher spiritual connection with God, as Abraham Abulafia wrote about; visions appear to her and help her spell the word, no matter how difficult. In the final scenes, however, Eliza purposely misspells the word origami (a word she had practiced with Saul the night before) to place second at the National Spelling Bee.

While the literal plot simply follows a girl from a somewhat dysfunctional family moving through the world of competitive spelling, the actual plot of Bee Season is a much more complex one on personal religious views. Saul can be seen a Kabbalistic figure himself, desperately trying to become closer to God, though instead of using knowledge (as one does in Kabbalah), Saul uses each of his family members to deepen his own religious sense (an act finally uncovered by Aaron near the film's end). Meanwhile, his wife, Miriam, is caught stealing and is sent to a mental institution. The relationships between all members of the family which were once close and warm become very strained.

Relationship to the novel

The movie generally follows the plot of Goldberg's novel, but with some notable changes. In the novel, Saul is a cantor, not a college professor. Miriam was born Jewish, rather than being a convert. Eliza did not get second place in the national spelling bee, though she did well. It was not until months later, when it came time at her school spelling bee to make her second attempt at the National Spelling Bee, that Eliza decided to get a word wrong on purpose. Chali, the person who introduces Aaron to the Hare Krishna religion, is a man in the novel. Also, in the novel, Aaron and Saul both play the guitar, whereas in the film, Aaron plays the cello, while Saul plays the violin.

Cast

Post-release

As of January 29, 2006 Bee Season had taken in a gross in the United States of $1,177,082 with an opening American weekend of $120,544.[1] Bee Season's single award nomination was a Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards Young Actress nomination for Flora Cross.[2] The DVD was released in the US April 4, 2006.[3]

See also

References

  1. ^ Business details for Bee Season for IMDb, retrieved March 24, 2006
  2. ^ Awards details for Bee Season for IMDb, retrieved March 24, 2006
  3. ^ Bee Season: DVD

External links

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Bee Season
File:Bee Season
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Scott McGehee
David Siegel
Produced by Mark Romanek
Arnon Milchan
Written by Myla Goldberg (Novel)
Naomi Foner Gyllenhaal
Starring Richard Gere
Juliette Binoche
Music by Peter Nashel
Cinematography Giles Nuttgens
Editing by Lauren Zuckerman
Studio Regency Enterprises
Distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures
Release date(s) November 11, 2005
Running time 104 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Hebrew
Budget $14 million[1]
Gross revenue $6,856,989[2]

Bee Season is a 2005 American drama film adaptation of the 2000 novel of the same name by Myla Goldberg. The film was directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel and written by Naomi Foner. It stars Richard Gere and Juliette Binoche.

Contents

Plot

Saul Naumann (Gere) is a somewhat controlling Jewish husband and father. A Religious Studies professor at UC Berkeley, Saul wrote his graduate thesis on the Kabbalah. A devout Jew, his wife Miriam (Binoche) converted to Judaism when they married, and he nurtured his son Aaron (Minghella) into a traditional studious Jew like him. When Eliza (Cross) wins her class spelling bee, they embark on a course of Kabbalah study to help her win. The film follows the family and the spiritual quests upon which they journey, in large part because of Saul: Miriam's attempt to make herself whole, Aaron's religious uncertainty, and Eliza's desire to be closer to her father. The regional bee is filmed at the Albany High school gym.

Miriam lives a secret life throughout her entire marriage to Saul, trying to fulfill the religious idea she learned from him, tikkun olam, or "repairing the world" and "reuniting its shards." She takes this meaning literally and slowly collects trinkets she finds beautiful (sometimes breaking into people's houses and stealing them) and storing them in a warehouse, trying to hold the light of God in them. Saul's son, Aaron, grows unsure of the Judaism foisted on him by his father, and in trying to find a faith he personally believes in, he becomes a Hare Krishna after meeting a woman named Chali in the park. For Eliza, her experience begins with a desire to be as close to her father as he and Aaron are; the two would often have discussions about Judaism and play music together. Saul's graduate thesis on Kabbalah writer Abraham Abulafia (who believed that careful analysis of words could lead to contact with God) brings Saul and Eliza closer together when Saul learns Eliza has won the district spelling bee.

Upon learning of her success Saul takes control of Eliza's life, trying to coach her with the Kabbalah teachings he knows so well (humorously ending up much like the controlling parents stereotypically seen in childhood competitions like spelling bees, though with different reasons). Eliza enjoys the renewed attention of her father and pursues the competition with her father's involvement. This comes at the expense of Aaron, who receives less time with Saul, even as he falls deeper into his religious dubiosity. At the center of the film, Eliza becomes Saul's newest religious project. Eliza continues to do well at spelling bees seemingly because of a higher spiritual connection with God, as Abraham Abulafia wrote about; visions appear to her and help her spell the word, no matter how difficult. In the final scenes, however, Eliza purposely misspells the word origami (a word she had practiced with Saul the night before) to place second at the National Spelling Bee.

While the literal plot simply follows a girl from a somewhat dysfunctional family moving through the world of competitive spelling, the actual plot of Bee Season is a much more complex one on personal religious views. Saul can be seen a Kabbalistic figure himself, desperately trying to become closer to God, though instead of using knowledge (as one does in Kabbalah), Saul uses each of his family members to deepen his own religious sense (an act finally uncovered by Aaron near the film's end). Meanwhile, his wife, Miriam, is caught stealing and is sent to a mental institution. The relationships between all members of the family which were shallow and disconnected to begin with become very strained.

Cast

Differences between film and novel

The movie generally follows the plot of Goldberg's novel, but with some notable changes. In the novel, Saul is a cantor, not a college professor. Miriam was born Jewish, rather than being a convert. Eliza did not get second place in the national spelling bee, though she did well. It was not until months later, when it came time at her school spelling bee to make her second attempt at the National Spelling Bee, that Eliza decided to get a word wrong on purpose. Chali, the person who introduces Aaron to the Hare Krishna religion, is a man in the novel. Also, in the novel, Aaron and Saul both play the guitar, whereas in the film, Aaron plays the cello, while Saul plays the violin.

Reception

As of January 29, 2006 Bee Season had taken a gross of $1,177,082 in the United States, with an opening American weekend of $120,544.[3] Bee Season's single award nomination was a Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards Young Actress nomination for Flora Cross.[4]

Home release

The DVD was released in the US April 4, 2006.[5]

See also

References

External links


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