4 items from 2014
The institution of marriage, and therefore divorce, in Israel is regulated exclusively religiously, with rabbinical consent needed to sanction both marriage and divorce. In Fill the Void, rabbinical authorisation is first denied, then granted to an arranged marriage, while Gett tracks a woman’s Kafkaesque divorce proceedings as the years go by.
Premiering at the Venice Film Festival in 2012 and currently showing at The London Israeli Film & Television Festival, Fill the Void was billed as the first fiction film by a Hassidic filmmaker intended for general release, with head-scarfed writer/director Rama Burshtein and her Orthodox-garbed husband an unwonted red-carpet scene. At Venice, it won a Best Actress award for newcomer Hadas Yaron, while Asaf Sudry’s cinematography was rewarded at the European Film Awards.
Family and offspring, the core prerogative of Hassidic womenfolk (and a staple of the Jane Austen novels that inspired the film) are at the centre »
Israeli vs. Israeli terrorist drama is a timely, thrilling provocation
The opening scene of Israeli writer-director Nadav Lapid’s subversive, original terrorist drama Policeman is a precise snapshot of nationalistic delusion. A group of macho cops are pushing one another’s limits on a demanding bike training ride. They stop at a highway overlook for a breather. Lined up in a muscle-bound, spandex-ed row, they gaze out at an open landscape near Jerusalem: dullish brown, desiccated, dead. With prideful awe, the leader intones, “This is the most beautiful country in the world.”
The leader is Yaron (Yiftach Klein is well-cast as a doer, not a thinker), one of the movie’s dual protagonists, a member of an elite Israeli counter-terrorist squad. The first half of Policeman takes an almost ethnographic approach to following Yaron’s daily life. At work, he hides in the backseat of a car and shoots an »
- Ryan Brown
Arriving in theaters more than two years after being named the best undistributed film of 2011 by the Village Voice, Nadav Lapid's Policeman deftly examines the physical and spiritual fallout of ideology turning into action.
Yaron (Yiftach Klein) is the leader of an elite counter-terrorist squad in Israel, as well as husband to a wife whose pregnancy he doesn't want to jinx by discussing too openly; as they're often wont to, these two aspects of his life prove impossible to compartmentalize.
To say that the ensuing drama moves at a snail's pace runs the risk of offending any slugs who might be reading, but the incremental changes Yaron and his cohorts undergo are something of a slow-burning marvel to behold. Lapid is so unconcerned with crafting a convent »
Everyone seems lost in Nadav Lapid's "Policeman" ("Ha-shoter"), an unsettling story of brawny Israeli anti-terrorist officers and the equally clueless activists they're eventually tasked with hunting down. While blatantly topical, this is not a political film of the moment, but rather a calculated meditation on self-defined purpose in the midst of societal confusion. Developed by first-time director Lapid at a Cannes Film Festival residency, the script for "Policeman" contains a persistently muted, disquieting tone that the director could expand upon in subsequent efforts. (His follow-up, "The Kindergarten Teacher," recently screened to acclaim in the latest Cannes lineup.) Despite its fragmented structure, "Policeman" is loaded with coherent insight into the nuances of contemporary Israeli society. Using a cerebral approach that calls to mind fellow Israeli filmmaker Amos Gitai, Lapid follows tough-minded officer Yaron (Yiftach Klein), an ultra-confident man of the law and husband »
- Eric Kohn
4 items from 2014
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