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Campfire (2004)
"Medurat Hashevet" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  9 September 2005 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 527 users   Metascore: 51/100
Reviews: 14 user | 14 critic | 9 from Metacritic.com

The story of one woman's personal battle for acceptance, but also a portrait of a political movement that has forever affected millions of lives in the Middle East.

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8 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michaela Eshet ...
Rachel Gerlik
...
Tami Gerlik
...
Yossi
...
Esti
...
Motkeh
...
Rafi
Yehoram Gaon ...
Moshe Weinstock
...
Yoel
Avi Grainik ...
Oded
Idit Teperson ...
Shula (as Edith Teperson)
...
Gozlan
Barak Lizork ...
Yaniv
Danny Zahavi ...
Ilan
Dina Senderson ...
Inbal
Ofer Seker ...
Yair
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Storyline

Israeli Rachel Gerlik has been widowed for one year. Despite not ever having loved her husband, she feels she now needs to move on with her life. She plans to sell his car, which has not been touched in that year. She starts dating again, solely on blind dates set up by her friend Shula Kupfer, first with the insecure Yossi Moraly and then with renowned cantor Moshe Weinstock. Most importantly in Rachel's plan is to be accepted into the founding group of a new ideologically-based West Bank settlement yet to be built, the acceptance committee chaired by Shula's husband, Motkeh Kupfer, considered one of the most important figures in religious Zionism. She has many factors working against her in being accepted, most specifically there not being a man in the household. Regardless, Rachel and her family are accepted on a trial basis. Her family consists of two teen-aged daughters, Esti and Tami, both who believe that their mother has lost touch with the realities of their lives, especially... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Details

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Release Date:

9 September 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Campfire  »

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1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie features Mivtsa Yonatan (1977). See more »

Goofs

When Rachel comes home after her meeting with the founding committee, when Tammy has locked herself in her room and Rachel is talking to Esti in the Living Room, the shots of Rachel show her with her hands cupped over the top of a soda pop bottle, but the shots of Esti (from behind Rachel) show Rachel's hands cupped on her knapsack on the table. See more »

Quotes

[subtitled version]
Yossi Moraly: I know you're waiting for someone better than me. I can even understand it. I just want you to know that I love you. I think you're a very special woman.
[there is a long silence]
Yossi Moraly: It's okay. You don't have to answer me. Good night.
Rachel Gerlik: Good night.
[Rachel turns to walk away then stops]
Rachel Gerlik: I'm not waiting for someone better than you. Don't even say that. You're the nicest person I've ever met.
Yossi Moraly: So what are you waiting for?
Rachel Gerlik: I don't know. I'm waiting to fall in love. I'm 42 years old and ...
[...]
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Connections

Features Mivtsa Yonatan (1977) See more »

Soundtracks

Blind Date Rag
Written by Jonathan Bar-Giora
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User Reviews

 
A Humanistic Take on Women Dealing with Boys Being Boys
20 September 2005 | by (Queens, NY) – See all my reviews

"Campfire (Medurat Hashevet)" will probably draw the most attention for its insights into West Bank settlers of the 1980's, but I found it more intriguing as a moving and humor-filled portrait of a family caught at the conflict between feelings and society, particularly in a boys will be boys culture.

Like "Broken Wings (Knafayim Shvurot)," this is an Israeli family with teenagers struggling with apolitical grief, but that was a secular family. Like "Upside of Anger," there's a grieving mom struggling with teenage daughters as all are dealing with their loneliness and sexuality. Like "Welcome to the Dollhouse" and "Smooth Talk," it deals with teen girls susceptibility to guys. "Saved!" showed teens dealing with some these issues in a comparable conservative community, but satirically unsympathetic.

Here instead we have a mother in a situation that would be difficult in any time, any place. The mother has just finished her year of mourning for her husband and is at loose ends, financially, emotionally and as a now single parent of daughters anxious to get on with their lives. All three are vulnerable to persuasion. But they happen to be a modern Orthodox family in Israel so their normal developmental stages are buffeted by religious and social strictures on their behavior.

The mother is attracted to the possibility of joining her husband's friends in a group to found a West Bank settlement, more for the companionship and structure it would give to her and her family's life than for zealotry. I'm sure American audiences miss a lot of the political references during scenes of organizing committee meetings, applicant interviews and singing, sloganeering and film viewing (let alone subtleties involved with types and angles of head coverings and length of skirts worn, eating habits and the summer fast day of Tisha b'Av), but the diversity of motivations and social hypocrisy of many of those involved does come through. Going through the process of dealing with these friends and their expectations makes her stronger as an individual, particularly as she reflects on her marriage and what she wants from future relationships.

The triangle of the younger and older women's relationships is among the most emotionally frank I've seen on film in its honesty about insecurities, confusions and peer pressure in male-female relationships, symbolized throughout by the father's car and how they and the guys around them deal with it.

While the mother is pushed to re-enter the dating pool and explores a relationship with some similarity to how Catherine Keener sweetly handles "The 40 Year Old Virgin," the older daughter focuses on her one-track minded hunky soldier boyfriend, seems to be rebelliously secular and is opposed to moving.

The younger daughter absorbs all these contradictory signals. There's a marvelous scene of her exuberantly dancing to romantic pop music at home by herself that is straight out of "My So-Called Life" (or the totemic equivalent for guys "Risky Business") to show that in the U.S. she'd be considered a typical teen ager. Her curiosity about boys is therefore not surprising, so that the adults around her seem rigidly clueless in not expecting that restlessness from her when the appeal of the bad boy is clearly universal. There are occasional references to the complexities of a diversifying Israel that Americans can understand, as when the mother comments the B'nei Akiva youth group isn't the same as when she was young.

The actresses are refreshingly not Hollywood beautiful, though it is clearly a running visual joke when the safe guy choices are not just nerdy but are bursting their untucked shirt buttons, even as it is sympathetic to their pressures as well, making the alternatives that much more attractive.

While this is no "Norma Rae" or "My Brilliant Career" as a feminist tract, nor is it the anti-Orthodox agit-prop of "Kadosh," the film has a strong, fair and balanced humanistic and sweetly forgiving point to make about women in a male-dominated society who are expected to act a certain way and the consequences they face when they step out of line -- and how the men who love them can be supportive as they learn to live together.

While "Campfire" is distributed unrated by the MPAA in the U.S., as a parent I would give it a PG-13. It deals with some of the same issues as PG-rated "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" but in a more serious and mature way as applied to a younger teen.


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