TJFF ’23: iMordecai

Directed by Marvin Samel, iMordecai tells the story of Mordecai Samel (Judd Hirsch), a Polish-born Holocaust survivor who lives in Florida with his wife, Fela (Carol Kane). A retired plumber and painter, Mordecai’s world is shaken when his son Marvin (Sean Astin) insists that he trade-in his old phone for an iPhone. Lost in a world of technology, Mordecai begins lessons on how to use his device with staffer Nina (Azia Dinea Hale) which leads to the rebirth of a man who feels as though he’s too young to be old.

While the script is frequently uneven, iMordecai is absolutely carried by the strength of its cast. Hirsch and Kane are such a joy to watch together on screen that they literally hold the film up on their shoulders. There’s simply a playfulness within their performances that breathes life into their characters and uplifts the performances around them. 

At its heart, iMordecai is a film about dealing with yesterday’s traumas today. For example, while Mordecai carries his experiences as a child with him, he wants to connect with the world around him in the present day. For him, technology offers him a new window into the world and helps rejuvenate him. However, at the same time, Nina’s modern life is burdened by the stories of her grandfather. Suddenly, the guilt and shame of her family’s past feels all too present, especially given her relationship with Mordecai. 

Together, the two attempt to reconcile yesterday’s stories with a world that seems unaware of them. As such, Mordecai’s art works to preserve the stories that helped shape him while Nina invests her time and heart into appreciating those who have come before.

iMordecai is playing at the Toronto Jewish Film Festival. For more information, click here.

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