Drawn to the expressiveness of hip hop and breakdance, Esther (Naian González Norvind) tests the boundaries of her restricted existence as a young married woman in a Hasidic community in 1990s Crown Heights. – TFF Program
Set against the racial tensions of 1991 Crown Heights, Esther In Wonderland depicts two seemingly opposing cultures through the eyes of a Hasidic young woman. After her devout husband, Avi, leaves to study, Esther sneaks off to join a female breakdance crew led by Dream. On a secret rooftop location Esther slips into a world of wonder and longing, watching the dancers and Dream’s handsome younger brother, Sawyer, at practice.
“As a second-generation immigrant, I am interested in identity and the excavation of the “self” amidst societal and cultural norms. As a result, my films are roadmaps of conflicting emotional and physical expression that occupies that space “in-between.” Like all my leading female protagonists, Esther exists in a place of longing, guilt and loss but also desire, pleasure, and possibility. She might not yet know where she is headed, but she sure feels the urge to unshackle and express herself.”
– Stephanie Bollag, Director (May 2021)