For this edition of Living Room Film Club we look at Emma Seligman’s SHIVA BABY, now streaming in the Belcourt’s virtual cinema. Guest speakers are Rebecca Epstein-Levi, Mellon Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies at Vanderbilt University, and Nashville Scene contributing writer Margaret Littman. This event is co-presented by the Nashville Jewish Film Festival.
Dir. Emma Seligman | USA/Canada | 2021 | 77 min. | NR
Near college graduate Danielle (Rachel Sennott) gets paid by her sugar daddy and rushes to meet her neurotic parents at a family shiva. Upon arrival, she is accosted by various estranged relatives about her appearance and lack of post-grad plans, while her confident ex-girlfriend, Maya, is applauded by everyone for getting into law school. Danielle’s day takes an unexpected turn when her sugar daddy, Max, arrives at the shiva with his accomplished wife, Kim, and their crying baby. As the day unfolds, Danielle struggles to keep up different versions of herself, fend off pressures from her family, and confront her insecurities without completely losing it.
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About the speakers: Rebecca J. Epstein-Levi is the Mellon Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies at Vanderbilt University. Her current book project examines the moral and textual implications of treating sex as one species of social interaction among many, and uses sex as a way to think of risk as a moral category. She teaches courses on Jewish sexual ethics, Jewish bodies and bioethics, purity in the Abrahamic traditions, argumentation in Jewish traditions, and comparative religious environmental ethics. In her copious free time, she enjoys cooking unnecessarily complicated meals and sharpening her overly large collection of kitchen knives. Margaret Littman Margaret Littman tells the stories of the people and places of the South. As a Nashville-based journalist her work appears in Kveller, Jewish Telegraph Agency, Conde Nast Traveler, and regularly in the Nashville Scene. She volunteers with the Nashville Jewish Book Series and is the author of several guidebooks to the area, including Moon Nashville to New Orleans Road Trip.