Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Nora’s Will

(Cinco días sin Nora, Mexico, 2008)

Jews are supposed to be put in the ground within twenty-four hours of their deaths, but there are exceptions. You can’t bury a Jew at the beginning of Passover, or on the Sabbath. Nora knows this, and has planned her death carefully so that she can’t be buried for five days. Jose, who divorced her twenty years ago but still lives in an apartment across the street, is hardly surprised to find her neatly laid out in bed one day. After all, the reason he divorced her was her no less than fourteen previous suicide attempts. He soon discovers her plans for manipulating everyone from beyond the grave, including a refrigerator crammed with food for the Passover dinner, all neatly boxed in Tupperware and labeled with Post-Its.

He is having none of it. He buys a plot in the Cemetery of Jesus, which results in the delivery of acres of flowers and even a coffin in the shape of a cross. This film is wickedly funny when we see the rabbi arrive in all this Christian excess. Men with long beards arrive to cover all the mirrors, remove the cushions from all the chairs, and put the stiff in a metal tray and cover her with dry ice. So she won’t … you know. The son and his family show up and he is appalled by what his father has done.

It gets less funny when they learn that, like the Catholics, Jews who off themselves can’t be buried in a regular Jewish graveyard. They have a special, really ugly lot for suicides and criminals. Now they are searching for a burial plot that’s not surrounded by Christians. This is a small and sensitive story of a family dealing with the end of a very weird woman, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.