Monday, April 28, 2008

"Praying with Lior" receives good coverage in Philly, Boston

Lior Liebling autographs his movie posters.

"Praying with Lior," the documentary that follows Lior Liebling, a young man with Down syndrome, as he prepares for his Bar Mitzvah, is garnering publicity and praise as it shows on the East Coast.

The Boston Globe wrote a positive review of the film, which is now showing in the Boston area. "This is the latest feel-good documentary to turn a spotlight on a much-misunderstood disorder, and per usual it demands that you unleash your sense of humor and table your pity. Fortunately for (director Ilana) Trachtman, the lead subject, Lior Liebling, makes that unbelievably easy for audiences to do.

"Even in the earliest home movies chronicling his struggles with - and triumphs despite - Down syndrome, Lior is a high-functioning charmer. He smiles continuously, loves unconditionally, and says the darnedest things. But the breadth and impact of his spirit is conveyed most fully in more recent footage compiled when Trachtman follows him around his home city of Philadelphia interviewing family, friends, and Lior himself. As one classmate puts it: Everyone gets tested in life; Down syndrome is Lior's test."

And from his hometown of Philly, The Jewish Exponent checks in with Lior to see how fame is treating him. "Praying with Lior" direcotor Ilana Trachtman reports that Lior recently attended junior prom even though he is a sophomore because his date was a junior. On his 17th birthday Lior led services at Mishkan Shalom.

Lior's only change? "He's now regularly asked for autographs," Trachtman says.

"Praying with Lior" will be screening around the country for the rest of the spring and summer. You can find screenings near you here.