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Ben Rubin, a young Israeli internist vying for the position of surgeon, learns that his internship has been terminated and he has been chosen to accompany Abraham Lazar, the hospital administrator and his wife, Dori on a trip to India. Dori is 50 years old, actually the exact age of Ben's mother. In India, with Ben's help, the couple intends to retrieve their ailing sick daughter, who is stuck in a Buddhist monastery in a far off and remote village. They intend to bring her back to Tel-Aviv in order to save her life. This journey awakens in Ben an erotic passion that dares to destroy his tidy world as he pursues an illicit love affair, not with the administrator's daughter, but with his wife, Dori. Written by
Amnon Sadeh <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The Viewer Needs to Supply Motivations for this Odd Scenario
"Return from India" is based on a novel by A.B. Yehoshua, a major figure in contemporary Hebrew Literature, which recounts in fictional form an important phenomenon among young Israelis, mostly those who have just completed military service. It's common for Israelis fresh from their military service to leave the country for a long period of travel abroad. India has become a favorite destination. While most go simply for the experience of visiting a colorful and exotic country utterly unlike their own, a lot go for the spiritual experience. Secular Israelis are notgenerally attracted to the non-Orthodox forms of Judaism practiced in the United States. Some experiment with the spiritualism found in Buddhism (as do many young American Jews). That is the factual foundation on which Yehoshua constructed his novel. On the screen, however, the story depends on inferences about the motivations of the characters since the characters are not fully developed, and much of what happens seems to contradict what the film actually shows. I've been told by someone who read the novel that motivations are equally unclear in the book. A young medical intern is persuaded to travel to India to save the life of the daughter of a couple that has been married for 25 years and who openly display their love for one another. Once the father returns to Israel because the daughter is not yet ready to travel and he has a conference he must attend, the wife and the intern go out on the town, leaving the desperately ill daughter alone in her room, and the wife aggressively seeks an affair with the young doctor. Neither leaving the daughter, nor the wife's behavior toward the young doctor are grounded in what has come before. And that's only the beginning of many emotional events that seem to spring out of nowhere. I saw this film with about 50 other people and in the discussion that followed, most had similar complaints. The actors are attractive and the Indian settings are fascinating but the plot is improbable, the characters are a wash out and the movie is deeply unsatisfying. Not that older women don't seek sex with younger men, not that younger men are unwilling to go to bed with older women, not that people might not travel thousands of miles to save a child and then ignore her when she's not ready to travel. All that is possible. But it is the obligation of novelists and script writers and directors to delve deeply enough into their characters to prepare you for the events in the plot.
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