The Burial Society

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The Burial Society
Directed by Nicholas Racz
Produced by Richard Baumgartel
J. Todd Harris
Raymond Massey
Written by Nicholas Racz
Starring Rob LaBelle
Jan Rubes
Allan Rich
Bill Meilen
David Paymer
Seymour Cassel
Music by George Blondheim
Cinematography Danny Nowak
Edited by Jeremy Presner
Distributed by Regent Releasing
Release date
  • October 7, 2002 (2002-10-07) (Canada)
  • May 28, 2004 (2004-05-28) (United States)
Running time
94 minutes
Country Canada
United States
Language English

The Burial Society is a 2002 is a neo-noir thriller film written and directed by Nicholas Racz.[1] The film stars Rob LaBelle, Jan Rubes, Allan Rich, Bill Meilen, Seymour Cassel, and David Paymer. The film follows a lonely, depressed Jewish man who becomes involved in the mafia.[2]


The Burial Society tells the story of Sheldon Kasner, whose existence has recently turned to one of quiet anxiety. His workload is mounting as his reimbursement for it continues to diminish, and Sheldon justifiably falls into a deep depression. Despite being a highly unlikely candidate for organized crime, he is drawn into a complicit money-laundering scam that doesn't run as planned. With a two-million-dollar debt on his hands, Sheldon devises a complicated plan: staging his own death with the help of the Chevrah Kadisha, or the "Burial Society," a mysterious group of devout Jewish men who have dedicated themselves to preparing dead bodies for their final resting place. Unbeknownst to Sheldon, the Burial Society sees the incompetent businessman as the only hope for the continued existence of their tradition. As they initiate him into their peculiar, ritualistic world, Sheldon believes his life is leisurely getting back on track; however, the men of the Burial Society may have something else in mind for him.[3]


Critical reception[edit]

The Burial Society got mediocre reviews when it was released in the US in 2004. The film currently has an overall score of 53 out of 100 on Metacritic.[4] The film has a 53% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes with a total of eight positive reviews and seven negative reviews.[5]


The film won the award for Best Production Design in a Feature Length Drama for James Hazell at the 2003 Leo Awards. It was also nominated in the categories of Best Cinematography, Best Director, Best Male Lead Performance, Best Musical Score, Best Program, and Best Screenplay. In addition to this the film won Best Film at the 2004 Louisville Jewish Film Festival; Best Cinematography and Best Production Design at the Milan International Film Festival; and Best Canadian Screenplay at the Vancouver International Film Festival. The film also won awards from the New Orleans Film Festival and Nanaimo inFEST Film Festival.[6]

Cast and crew[edit]

Actor Role
Rob LaBelle Sheldon Kasner
Jan Rubes Marvin Telekunsky
Allan Rich Hy Leibowicz
Bill Meilen Harry Epstein
David Paymer Morry Zimmer
Seymour Cassel Sam Goldberg
Jeff Seymour Jake Lightman
Bill Mondy Stuart Lightman
Linden Banks Rabbi Fernstein


External links[edit]