The Believer is a brilliant movie. Anyone with me?

Amazing intellectual screenplay. All danny’s speeches are very well made and engaging. Judaism is presented in an interesting way like no other religion has ever been. And it makes me want to meet a jewish girl.
Some favorite lines:

"ln the three centuries it’s taken these people to emerge from the ghettos of Europe…they’ve ripped us out of a world of order and reason, thrown us into class warfare…irrational urges, relativity…into a world where the very existence of matter and meaning is in question!


Cos it’s the deepest impulse of a Jewish soul to pull at the very fabric of life…till there’s nothing left but a thread…They want nothing but nothingness…Nothingness without end."

“Why did you come?”

“To study the torah”

“I thought you hated the tora”

“That doesn’t mean I dont like to study it”

I’ve never heard of this movie, but the quote doesn’t sound particularly insightful or even accurate. It’s not part of the Jewish character to pick everything apart and examine it: that is (or should be) part of the character of every reasoning human being. Judaism happens to be more tolerant of intellectual pursuits than many other cultures, who have often sought to deliberately suppress knowledge. Personally, I’ve always felt that if Judaism had become the dominant Western religion, we’d be far more technologically advanced.

I’m with you. I saw it a few years ago so the details aren’t fresh in my mind (I really should see it again), but it’s one of the most compelling movies I’d ever seen about Jewish culture. The main character is a very complex self-hating Jew who sympathizes with the Nazis. The acting and writing are both superb.

Here’s the imdb link.

Damn, never heard of it, now after checking IMDB link I gots to Netflix it.

Well, yeah. I think the movie uses jews as a motif of “every reasoning human being”. That is, as a tool for analysis of abstract sides of the human nature. The movie claims though, that it is somewhat more a part of the jewish character to be a reasoning human being, than it is for other cultures. But I think this is true, don’t you?

Yes, but isn’t that a failing of other cultures, rather than some kind of weird Jewish mutation? Possibly it’s the natural result when religious structures become ruling ones.

Anyway, on reading the links and some other material, I realize in fact that I had heard of this movie and it looked somewhat intriguing, but vanished pretty quickly. I suppose I’ll catch it on cable sooner or later. The main character seems like a more emotional version of pseudo-historian David Cole.

I saw this movie and it was very interesting. The protagonist has a point beneath all of his anti-Semitic rhetoric. The Jews were never allowed to own land in Christian Europe and participate in the normal course of society, which was based upon agriculture and a shared connection to the land. They had to turn to moneylending and trade instead, which was looked upon as an extremely dirty and evil thing. Even a peasant was considered more noble than a moneylended. Dealing in money was really frowned upon. Merchants were a step up but still did not have that crucial connection to the land, the sense of being part of the tribe.

To use an analogy, picture medieval Europe as a high school in a small Midwestern town. For the purposes of the analogy, let’s say that the town is self-contained, a microcosm of a society. The aristocracy are the popular jocks, the guys named Brad and Chad with spiked hair and Hollister shirts. The peasants are the vocational students who drive pickups to school and chew Skoal during class. The Jews are the nerds and math club members and band class. Geeks who are completely unable to measure up to the standards of masculinity. They don’t participate in sports, a physical test of manhood. They don’t learn a trade, like welding or carpentry. They’re looked down upon by both the vocational students and the jocks. What, then, do they do? They try to be as good as they can at their geeky pursuits, figuring that eventually they will become successful, and rich, and able to live independently from or above the more prosaic types of students.

So, the geeky guys graduate high school and get good enough at math and science and what have you to become successful. Eventually they become lawyers, bankers, and doctors. The Chads and Brads and ex-vocational students and all of them, they’ve grown up to become construction company owners, farmers, mechanics, and the like. They borrow a lot of money from the geeks, and their livelihoods flourish, and they’re able to buy more land and build more houses and buy more trucks. However, for whatever reason, they are unable to pay back their loans. Or maybe they just don’t feel like paying them back.

What do they do? Chad, Brad, Chase, Kyle, Kevin, and all the other ex-jocks, and their staffs of mechanics, construction workers, policemen, and everyone else, goes over to the neighborhood where the bankers live and roust them out of their houses, kick all of their asses, and tell them to get the hell out of town.

This is the story of the Jews in medieval Europe. They were geeks among jocks. Mice among men. They didn’t have the muscle to compete with the nobility, and they couldn’t work the land or an “honest trade” because they were barred from doing so. They had to turn to moneylending and business. Then, in the modern era, after the Enlightenment, they turned to politics and radical ideologies. Communism, socialism, and other sophisticated political movements designed to turn the old hidebound Christian society on its head. And who could blame them? They got fucked over so bad, they had to fight back in their own way.

This sentiment is basically what is put forth by Danny in The Believer. Except he neglects to mention that the Jews tried to overcome the agricultural-based society because they were barred from it in the first place.

I would go for “weird mutation”, if you can call Talmud a weird mutation. I don’t know of any other religious literature like the Talmud. Until the modern period, it was the sine qua non for any literate Jewish male, and teaches a rigorous kind of intellectual analysis that shapes ones’ thinking and I think, ultimately, the culture in which such study is embedded.

By the way, I saw the movie when it first came out -on Showtime) - thought it was fantastic and sorry that it did not get wider viewing.