January 23, 2019

Winnipeg
-13° C, Overcast

Full Forecast

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Opinion

Deadly silence

Winnipeg-raised filmmaker explores devastation caused by cleric's depravity, enablers' coverup

FILMFOLD PICTURES</p><p>World to Come</p>

FILMFOLD PICTURES

World to Come

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 12/5/2016 (986 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The old wounds of a scandal that ripped through Winnipeg's Orthodox Jewish community decades ago may be torn anew in World to Come, a film by Daniel Eskin and Trevor Mowchun premièring at Cinematheque this week.

In the film, a man named Doveed (Daniel Silver), haunted by disturbing visions, returns to his hometown to attempt re-entry to his religious community following the suicide of a childhood friend.

While the film’s story is told in an oblique, artistic style, it is very much based in the real case of Rabbi Ephraim Bryks, who, as principal of the Torah Academy in Winnipeg, was investigated on charges of child molestation in 1988. Never charged, Bryks had moved to New York in 1993 when a former student in Winnipeg, Daniel Leven, accused the rabbi of having fondled him at the school when he was eight years old. Leven committed suicide at the age of 17.

Eskin, 34, is in Australia completing his masters degree in screenwriting at York University. He says his family had been especially affected by the episode.

Get the full story.
No credit card required. Cancel anytime.

Join free for 30 days

After that, pay as little as $0.99 per month for the best local news coverage in Manitoba.

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Join free for 30 days

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Subscribers Log in below to continue reading,
not a subscriber? Create an account to start a 30 day free trial.

Log in Create your account

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Mon to Sat Delivery

Pay

$34.36

per month

  • Includes all benefits of All Access Digital
  • 6-day delivery of our award-winning newspaper
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 12/5/2016 (986 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The old wounds of a scandal that ripped through Winnipeg's Orthodox Jewish community decades ago may be torn anew in World to Come, a film by Daniel Eskin and Trevor Mowchun premièring at Cinematheque this week.

In the film, a man named Doveed (Daniel Silver), haunted by disturbing visions, returns to his hometown to attempt re-entry to his religious community following the suicide of a childhood friend.

While the film’s story is told in an oblique, artistic style, it is very much based in the real case of Rabbi Ephraim Bryks, who, as principal of the Torah Academy in Winnipeg, was investigated on charges of child molestation in 1988. Never charged, Bryks had moved to New York in 1993 when a former student in Winnipeg, Daniel Leven, accused the rabbi of having fondled him at the school when he was eight years old. Leven committed suicide at the age of 17.

Eskin, 34, is in Australia completing his masters degree in screenwriting at York University. He says his family had been especially affected by the episode.

"My father was the cantor of the Herzlia Synagogue in the early ’80s," Eskin says. "My whole family was connected to the synagogue and the Hebrew School that was part of it, as my three brothers and myself all attended that school."

Eskin says when he was about four years old, his parents and grandmother confronted the rabbi about allegations he had been having affairs with some of the women he counselled, among other issues.

"They confronted him in his office and he threatened to call the cops on them," Eskin says. "Basically from that day forward, the relationship between my family and the Jewish community of Winnipeg changed significantly. We became social pariahs.

"All our previous friends chose sides, and with a cult-like mentality, chose to ostracize us in blind faith — or possibly just wilful blindness to the major issues happening in that school.

FILMFOLD PICTURES</p><p>Daniel Silver (Doveed) and Eve Majzels (Yael) in World to Come.</p>

FILMFOLD PICTURES

Daniel Silver (Doveed) and Eve Majzels (Yael) in World to Come.

"I personally remember walking by a classroom at the age of four and seeing the rabbi teaching a class and having a young female student sit in his lap," Eskin says. "Even when it became very clear that there was inappropriate behaviour between him and students, my family was approached by members of the religious community who felt that taking us children out of a ‘religious’ Jewish school and placing us in a more secular Jewish school was to our detriment, as the rabbi in question only was doing this with girls and we, of course, were four boys in my family."

Eskin says he didn’t really know Leven.

"I would have met Daniel as a boy, but I honestly do not remember him," he says. "When I look at pictures of Daniel at that time, he reminds me in some ways of the way I looked as a child.

"As an adult, I did become very close with his mother, Sarah. I was often a guest to her Shabbos (Sabbath) table and spent a lot of time with her and some of her lovely family, who have suffered so greatly in what happened to Daniel and in his passing," he says. "In a lot of ways, I got the know the spectre of Daniel through much of my life. His ghost was very much part of my early teenage years, as I remember the circumstances after his tragic suicide and the reaction of my family."

In co-directing, Eskin and Mowchun agreed their approach would be that of a poetic art film, as opposed to a hard-hitting drama in the vein of last year’s Spotlight.

"We were much more interested in showing the psycho-geography of a community ravaged by a tragedy no one can accept, because accepting it would mean undermining the very foundations of the community as a whole," says Mowchun, also 34. "For us, silence is violence." 

"I fundamentally wasn’t interested in telling a straightforward story, because in a lot of ways, there wasn’t one here to tell," Eskin says. "A horrendous tragedy had happened and I instantly decided that I didn’t want to tell the story of the abuse, but that I was far more interested in the aftermath and in telling a story framing abuse around communal guilt in regards to those enablers and silencers, rather than the guilt of the abuser.

"I just wanted to make a quiet and reflective film that tried to honour the serious nature of the issues at hand without falling into… mere tropes," Eskin says.

randall.king@freepress.mb.caTwitter: @FreepKing

 

Randall King

Randall King
Reporter

In a way, Randall King was born into the entertainment beat.

Read full biography

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

History

Updated on Thursday, May 12, 2016 at 7:45 AM CDT: Paragraph fixed.

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective January 2015.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us