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"The Other Son" Overcomes Melodrama and an Identity Crisis

Though an interesting concept for its allowance of demonstrating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the eyes of two families, Lorraine Levy's The Other Son (or Le fils de l'autre) finds most of its success as a story of two men figuring out how much of one's identity comes from genetics versus environment. Despite a bit of melodrama stirred up to unnecessarily create more strife from the film's child swap than really makes sense, The Other Son stays on track and gives both boys the room required to think things through and come to terms with their newfound heritages and decide how they're going to affect their lives. Mehdi Dehbi and Jules Sitruk shoulder weight of the film with a lot of support from the couples playing their families (with Emmanuelle Devos doing more than her fair share - if only because most of the story happens on the Israel side
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Blu-ray Review: Lorraine Levy’s ‘The Other Son’ Transcends Cultural Boundaries

Chicago – Remember that episode of “The Dick Van Dyke Show” where Rob and Laura Petrie become convinced that the baby they took home from the hospital is not their own? Imagine if they were right and that 18 years had passed before they came to this crushing realization. And imagine if the birth parents weren’t a kindly black couple, and instead the Petrie’s sworn enemies?

That’s what occurs, more or less, in Lorraine Levy’s deeply moving French drama, “The Other Son,” in which two sets of parents—one Israeli, the other Palestinian—learn that they’ve been mistakenly raising each others’ child. Instead of devolving into a knee-jerk melodrama where speechifying compensates for character depth, Levy’s film unfolds into a warmly humanistic, richly empathetic portrait of families learning to transcend the boundaries of their culture. Since Levy is neither Israeli nor Palestinian, she’s able to bring a clear-eyed,
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Argo & The Other Son: The Discreet Charm of Relevance

  • CultureCatch
As Susan Sontag noted, "Existence is no more than the precarious attainment of relevance in an intensely mobile flux of past, present, and future." 

Ben Affleck's Argo and Lorraine Levy's The Other Son, both centered in the Middle East, put to use the past to comment on the present and, in a sense, predict the future, with seesawing views of optimism.

Affleck, who turned 40 this past August, has apparently channeled his aging testosterone away from tabloid-worthy lasciviousness and toward life-affirming artistry. After Gone Baby Gone,  The Town, and now Argo, there is no longer any doubt that the star of Chasing Amy and the Oscar-winning co-screenwriter of Good Will Hunting is now permanently ensconced among the A-list of American directors.

Argo, a recreation of a loony, covert CIA plot to rescue six Americans from Iran during the Carter era, is a nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat-grabbing thriller that works even if you already know the ending.
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The Other Son -The Review

The Palestine/Israel conflict is at the center of the well-meaning but predictable switched-at-birth drama The Other Son, a French-Israeli co-production. At times, it’s a moving and inspirational film but it’s also clumsy and a bit dull. Joseph (Jules Sitruk), is an 18-year-old musician about to join the Israeli army for his mandatory military service. He lives at home in a middle class suburb of Tel Aviv with his parents, French doctor Orith (Emmanuelle Devos) and Israel army commander Alon Silbers (Pascal Elbe). When Joseph gets his blood test for the military service, it’s revealed that these are not his biological parents after all. It turns out that during the Gulf War, Joseph was evacuated from a clinic along with another baby, and the two were given back to the wrong families. Oops! While Palestinian Joseph went to Tel Aviv with the Silbers, their actual Jewish son,
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

The Other Son | Review

  • ioncinema
Changelings: Israel Vs. Palestine Gets Nature Vs. Nurture Fable in Levy’s Latest

The age old Israeli-Palestinian conflict gets a dramatic facelift in French writer/director Lorraine Levy’s latest film, The Other Son. This tale of babies switched at birth is basically a fable that one imagines would seem to be a more tragic nightmare scenario in its land of origin than less volatile shores. However, the dramatic arc is not, of course, the switcheroo, but rather that the switch involves an Israeli and Palestinian baby. Now, after eighteen years, the mistake gets discovered, exposing results like those expected of a grand social experiment.

Joseph (Jules Sitruk), a nearly eighteen year old aspiring musician is about to enter into his mandatory military duty with the air force. His mother, the French born physician Orith (Emmanuelle Devos), notices that the blood test results from his physical examinations cannot possibly be correct.
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The Other Son Movie Review

  • ShockYa
Title: The Other Son (Le fils de l’autre) Cohen Media Group Director: Lorraine Lévy Screenwriter: Lorraine Lévy, Nathalie Saugeon Cast: Emmanuelle Devos, Pascal Elbé, Jules Sitruk, Mehdi Dehbi, Areen Omari, Khalifa Natour, Mahmoud Shalabi Screened at: Review 1, NYC, 9/5/12 Opens: October 21, 2012 The other day I posed a question to myself. Osama bin Laden, like hundreds of millions of fellow Muslims, believed that Christians and Jews and most people in the West are infidels. Let’s imagine that bin Laden had been born in Paris of parents who are both French Catholics. What would his religion be? Catholic, of course. Conclusion? What a person believes theologically depends on geography [ Read More ]
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Son of Rambow

Son of Rambow
PARK CITY -- "Son of Rambow: A Home Movie" might be titled more accurately "Son of John Hughes: An Elemental Movie." Over at Paramount, it would be enlightening to respool some of those classic John Hughes comedies, including a peek at the "Home Alone" ones he did over at Universal. In trade-ese, it's not well made, but it will make money.

The best children's movies are not just a hodgepodge of thematic elements and slapstick but, rather, the use of such ingredients to craft an engaging and universally appealing story. And they have engaging and survival-savvy protagonists, not merely a simp and a sadist as "Rambow" shoots out. Where is Hughes when Paramount clearly needs him?

Indeed, "Son of Rambow" is pumped up with all the right kids' ingredients: slapstick, fantasy, alienation and severe adult authority figures. But screenwriter and director Garth Jennings has slammed them all together with little cohesion and further slackened the story with atonal nastiness and gratuitously stick-thin side characters. Admittedly, the key ingredients will be enough to ensure that "Son of Rambow" attracts enough of the least-discerning children to the boxoffice to overcome its many shortcomings.

In this slight amusement, which certainly does have hilarious moments of slapstick, Will (Bill Milner) stars as a wimp who is bedeviled by his severe, religious-sect parents and a sadistic school bully, Carter (Will Poulter). Too dull and spineless to outwit his school tormentor, Will becomes Carter's slavish sidekick. In fact, you'd wish that Will would kill Carter, who is an obnoxious brute.

But the main story line lacks any discernible goal. Rather, it bounds into episodic fury as Carter forces Will to help him on his video shoot, a backyard version of "First Blood". In short, Carter forces Will to be his stuntman, subjecting him to all sorts of dangerous degradation.

Since there's not much going on with the main story line and we lose interest in witless Will after a while, filmmaker Jennings then slams in a supposedly comic and charismatic French exchange student, Didier (Jules Sitruk). Merely an annoying human sight gag, Didier is an androgynous poseur who parades and struts but doesn't return to France soon enough. Essentially, Jennings drops in such artificial ingredients to juice his meandering and thematically challenged narrative.

On the plus side, we get to see numerous snippets of "First Blood", recalling Sylvester Stallone's early glories as John Rambo. Yet that only makes us more aware of the necessity of a good screenwriter. In the case of "First Blood", that was James Cameron, who invigorated an essentially comic book-type action hero with sympathy and concocted a simple but dynamic story line. No similar thrust or clear aim is shown by "Rambow".

Technical credits are serviceable but considerably lessened under Jennings' unsure aesthetic grasp.

SON OF RAMBOW: A HOME MOVIE

Paramount Vantage

Hammer & Tongs

Reason Pictures/GOOD

Credits:

Producer: Nick Goldsmith

Screenwriter-director: Garth Jennings

Executive producer: Hengameh Panahi, Ben Goldhirsh, Bristol Baughn

Director of photography: Jess Hall

Production designer: Joel Collins

Music: Joby Talbot

Editor: Dominic Leung

Casting: Susie Figgis

Costume designer: Harriet Cawley

Cast:

Carter: Will Poulter

Will: Bill Milner

Didier: Jules Sitruk

Duncan: Charlie Thrift

Mary: Jessica Stevenson

Running time -- 96 minutes

No MPAA rating

Moi Cesar

Moi Cesar
EuroCorp. Distribution

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- This sophomore directorial effort from veteran French actor Richard Berry ("La Balance") charmingly mixes humor and pathos in its depiction of the life of its title character, a 10 1/2-year-old, 4-foot-7-inch-tall boy named Cesar. Shoring up the slender, episodic narrative with stylistic virtuosity, the director beautifully conveys the inner turmoil of his protagonist, played to hilariously deadpan comic effect by child actor Jules Sitruk. "Moi Cesar" served as a genuinely crowd-pleasing opening-night film for the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival.

Cesar, who also humorously narrates the proceedings, is your typical schlumpy adolescent, slightly overweight and ill at ease at anything having to do with sports or girls. The latter is a particular problem, as he has developed a strong crush on the beautiful Sarah (Josephine Berry, the director's daughter), though he must compete for her affections with his raffish and self-confident best friend, Morgan (Mabo Kouyate).

Cesar's home life is equally unsettled. His mother, Chantal (Maria de Medeiros), though loving and attentive, is distracted by her current pregnancy, while his father, Bertrand (Jean-Philippe Ecoffey), is rather quick to indulge in physical discipline. When the father, an import-export dealer, must leave on a business trip, Cesar wrongly comes under the impression that he's gone away to prison, with predictable but amusing results.

Both Sarah and Morgan have fractured home lives: Sarah's parents are divorced, and her father has taken up with a much younger and disarmingly exhibitionist woman, while Morgan, the product of a brief affair between his mother and a British journalist, has never met his dad.

The film's main plot element revolves around a surreptitious trip to London undertaken by the trio in search of Morgan's father, resulting in the inevitable complications, including their being befriended by a flighty, over-aged punk rocker coffee shop owner (played by Godard veteran Anna Karina).

Shooting much of the proceedings from his main character's height-challenged perspective, Berry, working from a screenplay he co-wrote with Eric Assous, delivers a hilarious and unsentimental portrait of adolescent angst, mixing ribald humor and genuine emotion to skillful effect. He also has extracted highly appealing performances from his youthful cast, with Sitruk a true natural in the central role and his own daughter a charmer as the vixenish Sarah. While the film is ultimately as insubstantial as the sugary desserts with which Cesar is endlessly preoccupied, it is a low-key delight that should well appeal to international audiences.

Moi Cesar

Moi Cesar
EuroCorp. Distribution

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- This sophomore directorial effort from veteran French actor Richard Berry ("La Balance") charmingly mixes humor and pathos in its depiction of the life of its title character, a 10 1/2-year-old, 4-foot-7-inch-tall boy named Cesar. Shoring up the slender, episodic narrative with stylistic virtuosity, the director beautifully conveys the inner turmoil of his protagonist, played to hilariously deadpan comic effect by child actor Jules Sitruk. "Moi Cesar" served as a genuinely crowd-pleasing opening-night film for the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival.

Cesar, who also humorously narrates the proceedings, is your typical schlumpy adolescent, slightly overweight and ill at ease at anything having to do with sports or girls. The latter is a particular problem, as he has developed a strong crush on the beautiful Sarah (Josephine Berry, the director's daughter), though he must compete for her affections with his raffish and self-confident best friend, Morgan (Mabo Kouyate).

Cesar's home life is equally unsettled. His mother, Chantal (Maria de Medeiros), though loving and attentive, is distracted by her current pregnancy, while his father, Bertrand (Jean-Philippe Ecoffey), is rather quick to indulge in physical discipline. When the father, an import-export dealer, must leave on a business trip, Cesar wrongly comes under the impression that he's gone away to prison, with predictable but amusing results.

Both Sarah and Morgan have fractured home lives: Sarah's parents are divorced, and her father has taken up with a much younger and disarmingly exhibitionist woman, while Morgan, the product of a brief affair between his mother and a British journalist, has never met his dad.

The film's main plot element revolves around a surreptitious trip to London undertaken by the trio in search of Morgan's father, resulting in the inevitable complications, including their being befriended by a flighty, over-aged punk rocker coffee shop owner (played by Godard veteran Anna Karina).

Shooting much of the proceedings from his main character's height-challenged perspective, Berry, working from a screenplay he co-wrote with Eric Assous, delivers a hilarious and unsentimental portrait of adolescent angst, mixing ribald humor and genuine emotion to skillful effect. He also has extracted highly appealing performances from his youthful cast, with Sitruk a true natural in the central role and his own daughter a charmer as the vixenish Sarah. While the film is ultimately as insubstantial as the sugary desserts with which Cesar is endlessly preoccupied, it is a low-key delight that should well appeal to international audiences.

See also

Credited With | External Sites