An old man tends his garden under the threat of encroaching urbanization. In wanders a beautiful tourist, dazed and naked after a sexual assault, and he mistakes her for an angel.

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Sa'adia Damari
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An old man tends his garden under the threat of encroaching urbanization. In wanders a beautiful tourist, dazed and naked after a sexual assault, and he mistakes her for an angel.

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1977 (Israel)  »

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The Garden  »

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Melanie Griffith's best movie?
14 September 2009 | by (Denver, Colorado and Santiago, Chile) – See all my reviews

I'm not the best guy to review this perhaps because it was originally in Yiddish and the version I saw was dubbed into German with no English subtitles, so needless to say a lot of it was lost on me. It does hold your interest somewhat, but perhaps mostly because a nineteen-year-old Melanie Griffith is running around butt-naked through about half of it. I have no idea why Griffith's character is hanging around Israel nor why the young actress herself was there (Is she Jewish perhaps?). At the beginning of the movie, she's kind of a mute, errant schoolgirl. She nearly gets hit by a bus and gets chased into the countryside by a trio of sex-minded males. After wandering around the wilderness and nearly getting raped twice, she manages to lose all her clothes. And between that and her penchant for eating apples, she's obviously supposed to represent Eve in the Garden. Perhaps this is a metaphorical commentary on the other story which involves a son trying to get his father to sell his land to some shady developers. Perhaps the whole thing is about a kind of fall from paradise.

The natural scenery here is very impressive. It's easy to see why people have spent thousands of years fighting over this land. Melanie's natural scenery is also very impressive. This might actually be her best film, not so much because of the nudity (which is pretty typical of her 70's and early 80's work before she became a STAR), but because she doesn't talk. Like her mother (Tippi Hedren), Griffith was very easy on the eyes and very hard on the ears with her shrill little-girl voice. It's not that she's a bad actress really, but the less dialogue she delivers the better (too bad they didn't think having her character in "Working Girl" be mute).

I didn't really understand this movie enough to either recommend it or pan it, but it would be interesting to see it again with some subtitles.


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