Rabbi Ronnie Cahana suffered a brainstem stroke in 2011 rendering him a quadriplegic. For 9 years he has been bedridden with slow speech. Rabbi Cahana was a family man. He was a scholar, poet and community leader and then the stroke. Institutionalized requiring round the clock care in a Montreal long term care facility he discusses what longing is, how his memory frees his body and how he will perfect the art of longing. I will not give you my interpretation as drawing simple conclusions are simply not possible in this short and very complicated film.
The film was written and directed by his daughter Kitra Cahana and is crafted through security camera footage, video calls and home videos. The documentary is powerful and unforgettable. Rabbi Cahana is eloquent and poetic and while his power of speech is affected his storytelling ability is strong. Perhaps we need ask ourselves why the Rabbi wanted to tell his story and as this is not apparent perhaps that is his gift to us.
Winner of best Canadian short documentary at Toronto Hot Docs 2022.
RKS Film Rating 96/100.
You can watch the documentary here https://www.nfb.ca/film/perfecting-the-art-of-longing/ but only available in Canada.