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Varda Ben Hur
The story takes place in Haifa, Israel, in 1979, during three days before the Shabbat. A young woman trying to raise three children, work from home, and observe the strict Moroccan ... See full summary »
The unexpected death of the family patriarch throws every member of the Ulman clan off course. Widow Dafna takes to bed for three months and when she finally returns to her job at the maternity hospital, she has little time for her children. Eldest son, Yair drops out of school and adopts a fatalist attitude, shutting out his siblings and girlfriend. His twin sister Maya, a talented musician, feels the most guilt and is forced to act as a family caregiver at the expense of career opportunities. Bullied at school, younger son Ido responds by obsessively filming himself with a video camera and attempting dangerous feats. The baby sister, Bar, is woefully neglected. Preoccupied with their own misery, the family is barely a family anymore. When another tragedy strikes, will they be able to support one another? Written by
Sujit R. Varma
This film was a surprise. Israel's film industry is doing just fine, and judging by some of the latest movies that we have seen from that country, they have a very promising future.
Director Nir Bergman knows a thing or two about how to reach an audience. The story that he presents here is one about the tremendous pain this family is going through after the beloved father dies in a freakish manner, leaving behind a wife and four children that without him are at the breaking point.
Dafna, the mother, is sleepwalking through life; she appears to be sleepy most of the time. Having to work odd hours, she is losing the grip of things at home. Maya, the oldest daughter, is the logical choice for Dafna to rely on, but this teen ager feels her life is being torn between the family loyalty and her own singing ambition. The older son, Yair, also is facing very hard times adapting to a life that is uncertain, at best. The other two children are just plain lost because everyone else is absorbed in his own conflict.
The acting is first rate. Dafna, played with conviction by Orly Silbersatz Banai, is excellent as the over burdened mother. Maya Maron is the rebellious Maya, basically the central role of the story. Miss Maron plays convincingly. The rest of the cast is very good.
We can expect other fine films from Mr. Bergman in the future, I'm sure.
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