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I have a confession to make, I don't have the slightest clue about
Cricket. It's the only sport that I can see the result of a game and
still can't figure out who won (which numbers are significant? the ones
in the parenthesis or the one outside?).
Cricket is hardly the main topic of the film but it turns out to be a major bond between the characters and between the various segments of this semi historical and semi personal feature.
Sarah Talker (Liraz Charchi in a wonderful performance) is a Jewish-Indian teenager who immigrates with her family to Israel under false pretenses by the Jewish agency. In Israel they find to their dismay that they were brought to a fledgling city in the Negev (a scarcely populated desert in south Israel) and are doomed to physical labor and living with neighbors who share the exact same story besides alterations of date and country of origin.
The harsh existence is weakened by the fact that Sara finds a friend in a Moroccan teenager-Nicole (Neta garty in an unforgettable performance) that, by the influence of her extrovert widowed aunt, rebels against the conservative values of her mother (Ruby porat shoval) and the constant nagging of her terrified, soon to be married and more than slightly overweight sister (Rotem Abuhab).
Sara and Nicole's friendship is put to a harsh test amidst the tumultuous times of puberty, the frustration of being stranded in forgotten province and certain, hmmm..., morally challenged entanglements (which I Can't reveal here)
The only thing that changes the mundane routine of the town is the arrival of the British Cricket team who comes to play against the Israeli team which consists of Indian retirees and, due to shortage of able Israeli Cricket players, Moroccan immigrants who play the game with zeal and vigor despite the fact that they have absolutely no idea what this game is about (and I don't blame them).
This film is of course not about Cricket, moral values or teenage rebel. Its about the clash of mild mannered Indians with outgoing and zealous (over zealous at times) Moroccan immigrants and how it deeply affects the lives of two female teenagers that out of the common search for reason in this age, form a genuinely deep bond.
I realize that i have been a little murky in my review but I can't give away the major plot advancements as well as detailing the vast (too vast, maybe) ensemble of characters and the drastic changes in their lives that bring the above referenced friendship to a crisis. I believe that the movie is aided with acting and wonderful colorful collage of the Israeli melting pot on the expense of emotional scenes that don't exude the emotional charge the director, Avi Nesher, hoped they would and the movie is a short of greatness primarily because of that.
Nesher, who also directed my personal favorite Israeli film of all time (Halehaka), said on the premiere screening that i attended, that the movie is very personal and an attempt to create something to be moved by after years of Hollywood flicks he had trouble relating to.
The movie moved him, I'm sure and it moved me too but not enough to call it a masterpiece or to learn the idea behind Cricket scoring.
8 out of 10 in my FilmOmeter.
P.S. For the conservative viewers among you, the movie is pretty explicit as far as nudity and intercourse are concerned. I found it slightly disturbing but in comparison to films like "y to mama tambien" or the Israeli "Late wedding" this film is a Disney production.
For non-Israelis, Left Turn at the End of the World is a revealing look at conflicts between Jewish communities originating in different parts of the world. Forced to live next to one another in a desolate "development town" in the Negev, Indian Jews from Bombay and Moroccan Jews, each confronting a loss of status (or imagined status) in their countries of origin, begin by despising one another and ultimately learn to live with one another, mainly through the agency of two teenage girls who befriend one another despite their differences in outlook. For those who do not speak Hebrew comfortably, this film is easier to follow than most Israeli films, not only because the subtitles are especially well done, but because the Indian Jews converse among themselves in English and the Moroccan Jews mostly in French with only rudimentary Hebrew to link them. Although one could summarize the story without ruining the experience for a viewer, it is not the plot that matters but the conflict and the accommodation. The acting is splendid, though only a couple of the actors were known (outside Israel) before this film, and only a couple have been heard from since. The two girls -- both are actually in their 20's -- the man-eating widow, the Indian father and mother and the Moroccan father and mother all distinguish themselves. It's funny at times, emotionally wrenching and true.
In Avi Nesher's warm and humorous film, very British Indians settle in
a dry town near the desert and must learn to cope with their French
speaking Moroccan neighbors. That they are all Jews helps little; there
are major differences in language, customs, and attitudes. Set in 1968
and narrated by Sarah, the teenage daughter from Bombay, the film deals
gently but genuinely with the problems of adolescent angst as well as
more serious issues of struggling immigrants dumped by the bureaucracy
in a remote border town. Despite the insistence of Nicole, Sarah's
friend and the sixteen year old town beauty, that nothing locally is
worth chronicling, the film is particularly adept at depicting the
greatest passions in the most ordinary people. Though the narrator is
not always aware of it, there are love affairs, labor unrest, tragic
illness, jealousies, and other personal dramas. The larger issues
include a strike at the bottling plant, the town's only employer, and a
visit by the championship cricket team, arranged by the British
consulate. Although the Moroccan Jews initially jeer this "child's
game," they eventually join the Indian ex pats for the match, with
predictably hilarious and disastrous results. By the time adulthood
arrives with the girls receiving their notice for the Army, we have a
sense how new Israelis are formed from their varied ethnic backgrounds.
Nesher's casting is impeccable, down to the smallest role. Particularly wonderful is the way he matches the tall, statuesque Moroccan wife with her short, older, balding husband, and makes their caring relationship totally believable. The fact is that all the characters are memorable, from the sexy widow upstairs, to the handsome Indian dance teacher, to the Tel Aviv poet, teaching high school in the desert. Despite its mixture of spoken Hebrew, English, French, pidgin, and gestures, the excellent subtitles manage to convey even puns effectively. This polyglot of languages, as the clashing customs, reminds us just how very diverse Jews are, how the cultures of their birth countries create a Jewishness that is never monolithic, until, perhaps, it is transformed into "Israeliness."
This movie is full of characters and incidents, almost as if the writers felt they might never have the chance to write again, but I think that consistently it is about people trying to repair their wounded pride. The two immigrant communities involved-- assigned housing not in the center of Israel nor yet in Eilat (the road sign says it's 170 kilometers to Eilat) but in a tiny desert town-- have different native languages but they share a resentment at having come down in the world from their pre-emigrant lives and seeing no way back. The men resent their factory jobs and ultimately strike against their employer. Some of the women resent their lack of opportunity and try to prove their worth by taking lovers. The story is set in the 1960s and includes occasional narration from the point of view of the present, making it a sort of "Our Town" or "I Remember Mama" saluting the loved ones of the past-- as if everything were different now, although in today's society too the argument could still be made that geography is destiny.
I have watched this film 2.5 times and it has touched me from start to finish . Sure it is entertainment , but isn't that what the movies are for ? I will recommend it for a Film Festival I am Chairing The acting is credible.The two protagonist are divine in their own ways & the narrative flow keeps one involved from the charming beginning to the surprise ending . There are so few pleasant movies coming out of Israel to offset the gloom and doom and directors constant attacks at Israeli Society, therefor this one wins in the charm parade .It is a just a great flick for mature audiences. Watch it and be drawn in as you take the voyages of discovery with the protagonists . R J LIFF
This film was a great success in Israel, and I was waiting for the
opportunity to see it, unfortunately it was a rather disappointing
The story happens at the end of the 60s, a time of economic boom in Israel after the six days war, but also a time Israel was led by the Labor party, which was conducting a socialist type of economy, directing resources to building industry in 'development' towns and trying to populate the remotely located desert areas of the country. New immigrants coming from India have to face the culture, climate and social shock of being badly integrated in a new society, having to surpass the language barrier, but above all encountering the lack of trust of the 'veteran' immigrants, from Morocco in this case.
The principal characters are two teenage girls, well played by two talented actresses, Liraz Charchi and Neta Garty who will build their friendship as a first and fragile bridge of understanding between their two communities. The story develops around their coming to age, while the theme of the integration of the Indian community borrows some elements from similar films about the integration of the Indian or Pakistanis immigrants in the UK. There is one scene, where a cricket team initiated by the Indians plays a game against a British team, when after the locals are humiliated on the play-ground the game is interrupted by a chaotic incident, so typical to the middle eastern mentality, and this is one of the best scenes of the movie.
Unfortunately, for the rest of the movie we get a treatment that is quite common to the Israeli cinema, a mix of vaudeville playing, melodrama, endless ethnic jokes that may sound well in a theater, but do not cross the screen, and amateuristic camera work and soundtrack. Opposite to the fresh acting of the two young main characters the rest of the cast acts in an outdated and melodramatic manner. This is called jokingly 'burekas' movies in Israel (burekas being a kind of pastry or pies specific to the area) and this film despite of its good intentions and a few shining moments is not much more than a 'burekas' film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
To be fair, the movie is more sexually explicit than it needs to be to
tell its story, otherwise, I'd have rated it higher.
It tells a good story of discrimination between two groups, the Moroccan Jews and the Indian Jews in a tiny town in the desert. It is also about the friendship between two teen-aged girls, Sarah (Indian) and Nicole (Moroccan) in that town. The girls become fast friends despite their differences in personality and their different ethnic backgrounds.
We get the story of a labor dispute at the only employer for both the Moroccans and Indians, and how each group deals with it - the differences separating the two communities, despite their common circumstances, how they try to work together, and again are torn apart.
There is marital infidelity and sexual awakening among both the girls and the boys, how they cope with it, and the emptiness of some of their solutions.
It ends up being both funny and redemptive, in spite of the death of a character.
Turn Left At The End Of The World is a great film! Avi Nesher who is a cult israeli film director returns! Left Turn At The End Of The World deals with the problems of newcomers who have been sent to the a small town just at the end of the world. As much as it sounds dreadful and hopeless, this film is actually very funny and entertaining! As an Israeli man, I can certainly say that nothing new has been made by Avi Nesher, it's the same old formula of typical israeli racism combined with sex lol. In addition, I can even say that this film is a developed version of Eskimo Lemon also known as Lemon Popsicles abroad. Bottom line : Watch this film if you would like to have an hour and a half of pure entertaining.
The year 2004 was a huge film release year in Israel. There were over 100 feature films Israeli films released which is a record number and record-setting numbers went to the theaters in Israel to see many movies. Apparently one in four saw this movie which tells already something. I don't remember once looking at my watch during this movie which says a lot. This movie flowed right through without any dull moment and had many jokes laced throughout. The two young main actresses are both incredibly talented and are both very believable in their parts. The theme of fitting in to new surroundings are universal but never quite so pronounced as when a new wave of immigrants comes into Israel. Also themes of friendships, neighbors, fidelity and others are examined with interesting results. Must see movie!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
We liked this movie because it was about relationships.
You really believed in the family relationships and the friendships.
However, I can see through some of the plot holes in this film.
It is sweet, but the script is not very deep or strong.
One of the redeeming qualities it the nudity, without which this movie might be a bit tedious and untrue to the era which it was trying to depict (1968).
It did not escape my attention that it was supposed to take place in Eilat, before detente with Egypt, which was then a backwater hoping for the tourist trade, which now has come to pass.
The most salient feature is that it highlights some of the tensions between some of the immigrant communities that helped to populate Israel, some policies relating to that have dispossessed Palestinians from their homes.
However, let me be clear, this movie shows a part of bonding amongst the many different parts of diaspora Jews, and that is probably the best thing.
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