"Pastrami Served With a Side of Kosher"
What You Need To Know:
For those unfamiliar with the delicatessen beyond understanding that they serve sandwiches, the movie sheds an entirely new light on the subject, giving delis a much greater meaning. Another nice touch is the interviews with Hollywood celebrities who recount their personal stories about the deli establishments they’ve frequented over the years. The true charm of DELI MAN, however, comes from Ziggy’s personal story, as he relates to the audience his troubles of finding a wife. DELI MAN has some foul language and a few sexual references unsuitable for younger children. The Jewish culture and religion is explored throughout DELI MAN. Discretion is advised.
(BB, CapCap, PP, LL, S, AA, M) Strong moral, capitalist worldview from a Jewish perspective with many positive references to Jewish culture and religion, taking care of neighbors and strangers, business owners interviewed about their jobs, movie promotes individual economic responsibility, and it’s implied that woman converts to Judaism; 16 obscenities or profanities, the word “bastard” is used, phrase “wiping your a**” is used; no violence; several references to sex and male private parts; no nudity; manager tells story of employee being drunk while on the job; no smoking or drugs; and, revenge is taken on an annoying customer by not providing good service.
DELI MAN is a documentary that primarily follows the life of Ziggy Gruber, a third-generation delicatessen owner.
Ziggy was born into a family of deli owners and knew from an early age that his future lay in the food industry. He attended an elite culinary school in England, even getting the opportunity to cook for the Queen. However, he felt there was something missing.
Ziggy decided to move back to the United States and continue his family tradition by opening a deli in Houston. His deli sets itself apart by serving traditional Jewish dishes in addition to the usual deli food, while Ziggy also brings his more formal culinary training to the business.
DELI MAN ventures into other delis across the United States. It interviews the owners about why they went into the business, and what they think the future of it is. For people who are unfamiliar with the delicatessen, it makes sure to visit the early 20th century when many of the Jewish immigrants came to America and found that they could make a life for themselves in the delicatessen business. By exploring this history, the movie slowly unravels the unique culture that shapes the industry.
The true charm of DELI MAN, however, comes from Ziggy’s personal story, as he relates to the audience his troubles of finding a woman to marry. When he finds such a woman, the movie goes outside of his work life and follows him to Hungary where he gets married in the same synagogue where his grandfather attended before he immigrated to America. This encapsulates the movie’s underlying story, that the Jewish culture that once was the soul of places like New York City is slowly disappearing in our modern era. The movie draws attention to this by pointing out the fact that there once were thousands of Kosher delis in New York City alone, but now there are only around 150 in the entire country.
The style of DELI MAN is lighthearted and even tongue-in-cheek at times. It brings a lively personality to a perceptibly boring line of work, even defining the various Yiddish terms that the people on camera use by displaying them dictionary style. Those moments are always good for a chuckle from the audience. For those unfamiliar with the delicatessen beyond the basic understanding that they serve sandwiches, the movie sheds an entirely new light on the subject, giving delis a much greater meaning. Another nice touch is the interviews with Hollywood celebrities who recount their personal stories about the delis they’ve frequented over the years.
DELI MAN has some foul language and a few sexual references that wouldn’t be suitable for younger children or other sensitive viewers. The Jewish culture and religion is explored throughout DELI MAN, and there is a conversion to Judaism that’s discussed briefly and later implied. A Jewish wedding ceremony also takes place. Discretion is advised for older children and adults.