I suspect that to fully enjoy, and appreciate, this comedy, an understanding and knowledge of London Jewish culture and traditions would help, something I am lacking. However, this does not mean that I was incapable of laughing, or, more often, quietly smiling, at the irreverent humour.
However, I did think that much of the humour, and the central story line of the film, is constructed onto a series of stereotypes, those of the Jewish family, the Yorkshire pig farmer, the supposedly liberal artist (Maryam D'Abo), the adventuress, the arriving Jewish boy in a flashy car, the male attitudes towards fatherhood, the artificial insemination establishment, just to name a few. As a result of this structure, I thought that the inherent humanity of the central character, Leon Geller, is somewhat washed away.
The story is quite simple: Leon (Mark Frankel), a sensitive Jewish boy, after resigning as a state agent for ethical reasons, finds that his real biological father is a Yorkshire based pig farmer (Brian Glover), due to a human error in the artificial insemination clinic, to the horror of his “adoptive” father (David de Keyser), an Orthodox Jew. This hiatus between the cultural traditions of the two families, and the transgressive nature of their relationship, is the engine driving the laughs.
Leon The Pig Farmer The Kosher Edition DVD is directed by Vadim Jean and Gary Sinyor, and is already in sale in Britain, courtesy of Network Releasing.
Mark Frankel, Janet Suzman, Brian Glover, Maryam d’Abo, Connie Booth and Gina Bellman star in Jean Vadim and Gary Sinyor’s hilarious, acclaimed debut feature film Leon the Pig Farmer. Winner of 5 awards, including the Venice FIPRESCI Prize and Edinburgh International Film Festival’s Best First Feature in 1992, this 2-disc set titled LEON THE PIG FARMER – THE KOSHER EDITION contains high definition and standard versions of the film and is available to own on 26th March 2012, RRP £19.99.
Leon Geller is a sensitive, angst-ridden Jewish boy at breaking point. Disgusted by his job at a London estate agent, he quits to work in the catering business. Equally frustrated by a thwarted romance, he then throws himself into an intense affair with Madeleine, a non-Jewish, slightly unhinged artist whom he befriends after a near-fatal collision. These developments do not please Leon’s family…
Then, he learns an unimaginable truth: he owes his existence to artificial insemination, and thanks to a mix-up at the sperm bank the donor was Brian Chadwick, a pig farmerfrom Lower Dinthorpe, Yorkshire. In deepening turmoil, Leon decides he must now get to know his biological father – making yet more extraordinary discoveries in theprocess!
“The Unkindest Cut of All” short film