Daniel Burman's The Tenth Man is a story about the relationship between personal identity, community and tradition, following a character in Ariel who for a long time has struggled to embrace the Jewish community in which he was raised in Buenos Aires. After years away, Ariel receives a phone call from his father Usher, which prompts Ariel to return to Buenos Aires in an attempt to reconnect. The founder of a charity foundation in Once, the city's bustling Jewish district, Usher is extremely busy, and on Ariel's arrival, he finds himself getting entangled in his father's vast array of charitable commitments. In the process of trying to track down his father in person, Ariel meets Eva, an independent young woman who is a part of the Jewish community, someone who ultimately aids in helping Ariel come to grips with the traditions and the community that have unnecessarily divided Ariel and his father. Daniel Burman's The Tenth Man feels like a very personal story, a low-key effort focusing on a character in Ariel who never seemed to be able to find his place in this world. Much of his personal solitude stems from the perceived neglect of his father, a man in Usher who is extremely dedicated to serving his community. This has led Ariel to somewhat resent the Jewish community and their traditions, a man who left Buenos Aires in an effort to escape this perceived slight, one in which he saw his father focusing on the community more than his own son. It's only through Ariel's interactions with Eva that he begins to become comfortable in his own skin, understanding the notion that he can maintain his independence and singular voice while still embracing the community. The Tenth Man is a film that spells very little out for the viewer early on, a lowkey film that relies on setting and character to define its story. The film's message is simple yet borders on heavy-handed at times, with much of the first half revolving around Ariel's frustrations related to the countless tasks his father asks him to carry out for the community. The whole experience of Daneil Burman's The Tenth Man feels deeply personal but also slight, and I'd be lying if I didn't find the pacing of this film severely lacking at times. The whole story, centered around Ariel's angst towards the Jewish community due to his father's neglect, comes relatively into focus early on, and while I'm always a fan of minimalist work, The Tenth Man simply wasn't meditative or contemplative enough to keep me engaged. Ultimately about a character finding himself and being comfortable where he came from, Daniel Burman's The Tenth Man has an important message but unfortunately doesn't show the nuance in execution to be anything particularly special.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.