The Shabbos Goy

By Talia Osteen | Comedy
An Orthodox Jew tries to find someone to turn off an adult toy gone rogue.

Launched by “Bridesmaids” director Paul Feig, Powderkeg: Fuse is a talent incubator program that highlights emerging female film directors. Omeleto is proud to share its diverse slate of shorts for this year — as part of its inaugural Fuse Directing Program — which is inspired by the vibrant communities of Los Angeles and united by a comedic sensibility that can range from bawdy to caustic to offbeat, but is always emotionally grounded.

Hannah is a devout Orthodox Jew, who observes the tenets and practices of her religion, including abstaining from electronics of almost any kind on the Sabbath.

She’s also a modern woman who lives in Los Angeles, the most modernist of American cities. So when a certain device of hers won’t turn off, she sets out to find someone who can turn it off without violating her religion — a “shabbos goy” outside the faith who can perform certain types of work for Jews who can’t partake on the Sabbath.

Writer/director Talia Osteen’s nimble, quicksilver comedy combines the bawdiness of a certain type of ribald comedy with a richly observed snapshot of how a tradition-rich religion and culture thrives in a modern setting, where diverse groups of people are nestled alongside one another but often don’t deeply interact.

Like many comedies, the success of the film rests on its writing and performances, and both here have a sharp, sly eye for irony and the peccadilloes that arise when we’re trying to hide things we’re embarrassed, ashamed of or not supposed to do.

Hannah may be an Orthodox Jew, but she’s also embraced aspects of modern womanhood, though that embrace can’t exist out in the open. Yet she must find a way to reconcile these sides of herself — a dilemma that propels her to reach out into the larger world.

That world is shot with a warm polish in the cinematography and a subtle grace in the camera movement, capturing a vision and side of Los Angeles that’s warmer, humbler and livelier than most cinematic representations of the city. The visuals beautifully capture how the city is a series of hidden pockets, and Hannah goes outside of her particular enclave to solve her problem.

This leads her to Davian, a young Black man, who she enlists to help. The two likely never would have met if not for Hannah’s immediate problem, but the dilemma forces them into an interaction that is both sweetly cringe-y and hilarious to watch. Actors Milana Vayntrub and Devere Rogers find a great comedic rhythm together that is true to both the wit and humor of the dialogue and the emotions of the characters. When all the elements come together in an impeccably paced crescendo of mishaps — and Hannah’s predilection comes out in the open — it’s an absolute delight of comic timing and culture clash.

Smart, witty and playful, “The Shabbos Goy” has a lightness of touch, but that sense of free spirit doesn’t elide over the characters’ social realities, which are deftly acknowledged in ways that don’t interrupt the pleasure of the storytelling. Instead, it invents ripe comedic opportunity in playfully setting up a collision between contrasting lives and people — and finding warmth and affection in the ways people can be there for one another, on the most basic level.




You Might Also Like:

Sylvia

By Richard Prendergast | Drama
A single mother takes her family on a road trip. But it's to an unwanted destination.

Second Best

By Alyssa McClelland | Comedy
Twin sisters turn into rivals when one's gymnastics career steals the spotlight.

No More Wings

By Abraham Adeyemi | Drama
2 friends meet at their favorite fried chicken shop. But their lives have diverged.

Avarya

By Gokalp Gonen | Animation
A man is trapped on a spaceship after his robot overseer finds every planet uninhabitable.

Feeling Through (Oscars)

By Doug Roland | Drama
A homeless teen meets a deaf-blind man who changes his life forever...

Ernie

By Hadley Hillel | Drama
A man's suicide attempt rips a hole in the ceiling. Then he befriends the boy upstairs.

Dig Your Own Grave

By Kirk Larsen | Comedy
A man is forced to dig his own grave in the desert. But the ground is hard.

Call Connect

By Josiah Allen and Indianna Bell | Drama
A young helpline operator takes her first call and gets more than she expected.

More Than God

By Kev Cahill | Comedy
A devoted husband suspects his wife is cheating on him. Then he hides under the bed.

Welcome to Iron Knob

By Dave Wade | Comedy
A young boy accidentally shoots a stranger and the town tries to cover it up.

CODA

By Erika Davis-Marsh | Romance
A young dancer falls for a deaf guy, then tries to find her place in the world.

Toni With an I

By Marco Alessi | Drama
An awkward girl doesn't fit in at school. Then the Internet comes to save her.

The Things You Think I’m Thinking

By Sherren Lee | Drama
A burn-survivor goes on his first date after his accident.

Into the Silent Sea

By Andrej Landin | Sci-Fi
A Soviet cosmonaut who is stranded in space discovers a voice in the distance.

Infinite ft. George MacKay

By Connor O’Hara | Drama
A terminally-ill man has a plan to 'live on' and gets his friends to help.



Your favorite short films you haven't seen yet.

Inspiring and insightful. Entertaining and enlightening.
That's what you can expect here: no fluff. Just a steady
stream of the best films delivered to your inbox.