French Version of Manhattan’s Garment District Portrayed in New Film with Interfaith Love Theme

By Ronnie Friedland


An initially cynical but ultimately romantic view of life and love can be found in Would I Lie to You? (La verite si je mens), a new French film in which an interfaith love affair is eventually embraced by the Jewish community.

The Sentier, a Parisian version of Manhattan’s garment district, is the background of this comic film about the Jews who work there–specifically a group of macho men who frequent night clubs, sleep with each other’s girl friends, and, in general, appear to have few goals or values beyond having a good time. They do, however, celebrate Shabbat (the Sabbath) and help fellow Jews. Ironically, Eddie (played by Richard Anconina), whom they help, thinking he is a fellow Jew, is actually fleeing a Jew who was trying to cheat and rob him. Although comic in intention, the film’s view of the moral character of these garment workers is far from positive.

Eddie is welcomed into a community that believes he is Jewish, and is given a job at which he excels. He moves up in the company, falls in love with the boss’ daughter, and wins her love, all the while maintaining his false identity. When he and his girlfriend go to a rabbi to plan their wedding, he mistakenly calls the rabbi Father, and his deception is discovered.

After their initial outrage, his girlfriend and her family realize that the person is more important than the religion, and they agree to the marriage.

In a side plot, another garment worker, a Romeo, is horrified when his girl friend tells him that she is pregnant. Not wanting a serious relationship, he rejects her. Ultimately, however, this cynic realizes that he loves her, and they, too, end up happily together, along with their baby daughter.

Directed by Thomas Gilou, and written by Gérard Bitton and Michel Munz, the popular French film includes a cast of unforgettable, albeit unpleasant, characters, wonderfully acted. The cast includes Vincent Elbaz, Bruno Solo, Jose Garcia, Elie Kakou, Richard Bohringer and Sabrina Van Tassel, Aure Atika, Anthony Delon, Gilbert Melki and Romeo Sarfati.

Would I Lie to You?, co-sponsored by the Boston French Film Festival and the Boston Jewish Film Festival, was shown at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.



About Ronnie Friedland

Ronnie Friedland was the founding Web Magazine Editor of InterfaithFamily.