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Jaco Van Dormael
Jo De Backer
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I saw this movie, just now, not when it was released and hailed as best picture of the year here in Israel. and to summarize everything right now, I will just say: this is not a good film.
This is Dror Shaul's second feature film, and I have to admit that his first and the TV drama he made before this picture are much better. further more, this is his first attempt at directing a drama. the early works were comedies, and were funny and effective.
The first thing you have to know if you'll ever see this film: Israel of the 21st century hates the kibbutz and the values it represented since the formation of the state of Israel. the real situation of the kibbutzim is very dire, and some of them disappear one by one. the kibbutz, Hebrew word for collective, was a sort of village for members only, where the values of equality and socialism were the dogma for everyday life. with the change in social values with time, it seems now that the kibbutz was a place where the human spirit was repressed, locked within the dogma rules, with no ticket out. the entrance of capitalist values and way of life in the 90's and so far made it very hard on the kibbutzim to survive. the crazy mother in the film is the central metaphor for that.
But, I regard this film as having nothing to do with nostalgia for the good old days of the kibbutz. once, it was a dream of every young couple to live in a kibbutz and raise children in this quite and beautiful environment. but the film shows the opposite. that the kibbutz, with it's socialist dogma, was a place sort of like a cult of crazy people, with crazy ideas that undermine the freedom of each individual within the collective. this is the central philosophy of post modern capitalism: your individuality is the most important thing. you must place yourself in the center, and no one else but you is the matter. this is the philosophy the film stands for, and that's just it's first sin.
If you disagree with me on the political side, I'm sure you will agree that the acting, the tone of the film, it's script and it's direction are the four sins that follow. the film has no real visual text and none of it's shots is something to remember. it is also very "delicate", a delicacy that is no more than artsy fartsy attempt to provoke emotions, which do not surface, not in the film and not with the viewer. it brings nothing but boredom.
Can someone please explain: why this film won so many prizes? maybe because it shows that Israel is in line with the rest of the world, hating socialist and human values? or maybe it shows that Israel is a "delicate" place, not giving in to dogmas and fanaticism? that we are basically very human and good people, capable of emotions, especially when they are fake ones, just like capitalism expects us to be? or maybe because it tells one of the biggest lies of Israeli cinema in recent years, a lie that undermines the justification of the existence of the Jewish state? no matter what the answer is, it's not a good one. not for the world, not for human values and not for the Jews.
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