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|Index||13 reviews in total|
In the center of "Sweet Mud" ("Adama Meshuga'at" in Hebrew) we find the
story of Miri Avni (Ronit Yudkevitz) and her growing up son, Dvir
(Tomer Steinhof, with a stunning debut), in a southern Kibbutz during
Where people have to struggle to give from themselves for each other, Miri is constantly trying to recover from the mysterious death of her husband. Under these circumstances, Miri's sensitive situation is worsened and stands contrary to the values of equality that rule the Kibbutz, through the eyes of its members.
Dvir, who's at his Bar-Mitzva's year, is familiar with his mom's condition and tries to prevent her from losing her mind and kick her back to float with the stream. This purpose becomes even more complicated when Dvir has to deal the contrast between the Kibbutz's equality values and his mother's liberty and freedom to live as mentally-ill person at the normative society, and is about to change his adolescence and life.
This flick was mastered and crafted by an accurate and sensitive direction, powerful performances, trembling soundtrack and phenomenal cinematography, and it's well driven by its refined storyline.
Dror Shaul portrayed a personal, yet very resolute story of life in the Kibbutz before privatization, alongside a strict, emotionally-precise coming-of-age tale for independence and dignity.
Young actor Tomer Steinhof is the basis of this film. His performance is so minimalistic, so moving and so convincing that he just tears apart the viewers hearts. This kid HAS to win world-wide recognition and must appear on as many films as possible. Beautiful Ronit Yudkevitz is another supporting-pillar of the film, with a wretched, merciless portrait of a lapsed and helpless woman. Her physical and mental deterioration is absolutely heart-rending. The chemistry between these two marvelous actors and the characters they hand over to the screen is very convincing and leads to many emotional refractions.
The supporting actors do wonderful job as well; Senior Belgique actor Henri Garcin shines on a 5-minutes, yet very important role, as the foreign aging lover of Miri; Shai Avivi with a role of the "comic-moderator" though a very malice person; Gal Zaid as the controversial secretary of the Kibbutz; And many more.
Mixed with mesmerizing music and amazing cinematography, this movie turns to be one of the best Israeli films of all times, if not the best of them.
I was truly affected by this piece of culture.
This is the second feature film by Dror Shaul. Set on an Israeli kibbutz Bet-Gvurot in 1974, this provocative film explores life on the kibbutzim in its most hilarious and dark forms. Dvir (Tom Steinhof) is an adventurous 12-year old who protects his mother Miri (Roni Yudkevitch), a single parent who is emotionally unstable. Miri forms a long-distance romance with an older man in Switzerland Stephan (Henri Garcin). When Stephan comes to visit, Miri emerges from her darkness and for an instant, her life shines. When Stephan's actions bring him into conflict with the leadership of the kibbutz, he is banished and Miri regresses. Dvir's brother Eyal (Pini Tabger) goes off to fight in the Yom Kippur War and Dvir is on his own and restless as he approaches his Bar Mitzvah. The film paints an unflattering image of life on the kibbutz, raising issues such as alcoholism, promiscuity, and acute isolation. When Shaul offered an advance screening at a kibbutz in Israel, they were reportedly shocked and offended. A poignant and funny film with a bitter-sweet ending.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I couldn't stop thinking about it for days. Brutal and stirring at the
same time. The plot could've taken so many turns at various points: the
poster of Stephan on Dvir's wall begging to ripped down by the fief /
*metapelet*; Dvir being disqualified from the kite competition on the
grounds that he got assistance from "outside quarters"; Dvir's
blackmailing the mean-spirited member who harasses him. All would've
been heartbreaking, but Shaul proves to show us that no matter what the
specifics, the system was rotten and constituted Miri's downfall.
I am a kibbutz member and have lived on two other kibbutzim, so the reviewer was right who wrote that each plot item could have and probably did happen on one or more kibbutzim, yet probably not all happened on any single kibbutz. No matter: It was a twisted system, no doubt about it, and Shaul is certainly qualified to show it to us if anyone is. Good work, Dror and cast.
I saw this film in an audience of about 80 American Jews passionately devoted to Israel. Most had visited Kibbutzim, a number had lived on one or more. Some thought Dror Shaul's theme -- the claustrophobic atmosphere and pressure inflicted on a mentally unstable Kibbutz member -- reflected aspects of kibbutz life they had witnessed. Others saw it as a complete distortion of an Edenic, well-intentioned if ultimately unsuccessful, experiment. One thought it should not be shown to American audiences because it reflected badly on Israel. It is, frankly, an emotionally draining and heart-wrenching story about a youngster (Tomer Steinhof) and his unstable mother (Ronit Yudkevitz), whose instability is seriously aggravated if not caused by the unforgiving atmosphere on the kibbutz. Depending on your perspective, you might hate this film because it doesn't conform to your vision of kibbutz life. You may find it excessively unpleasant and dislike it for that reason. However, though it is undeniably dark, the movie is powerful, well-acted and beautifully directed. It provoked a long discussion among members of the audience whom I saw it with. Many were moved, some were angry. Most thought it was well worth seeing, as do I.
The cinematography in this film is somewhat fantastic. For this I feel
the production team really succeeded and proved that amongst other
international contemporary film makers, Israel can too present a film
that is aesthetically pleasing.
In the director's cut, Dror Shaul claims that the film is of 'one boys vision' of his own current affairs and that there are no political views that hide behind the surface of the film. I disagree with this statement and although I have never experienced a Kibbutz before I am able to understand that this film takes on a very one-sided stance of the system, propaganda and regime of the kibbutz. Shaul fails to balance out the film and portrays it as an obsolete institute of total corrupt. He paints the opposite of an idealistic vision over it and I feel this might cause a bit of controversy amongst previous or current kibbutz members.
The story line is emotional. It really seems as though the director, team and actors have put a lot of effort and time into producing a story which is captivating yet subjective, submitting a senseful and sensitive drama which encourages the viewer to follow and react in accordance to the actors emotions.
It is a film to watch and certainly one of the greats of upcoming contemporary Israeli cinema.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There aren't many pieces of art regarding life and suffering in kibbutzim. So any one that comes to describe one specific case of a kibbutz character, for good or for bad, can be charged as having the responsibility to support the kibbutz model as a whole which is absurd. Any story that would describe in detail the perverse functioning of one specific family shouldn't be said to be undermining the fundamentals of traditional family model. Adama Meshuga'at makes a very sensitive clinic of the very possible perverse human attitudes which happen to occur within any common society but which may get a very own representation in a utopic socialist kibbutz, as a very much closed human group within itself, regarding it's very own history, geography, economy and culture including the country of origin of its members, as we see in this particular movie with many Kibbutz members with French accent, possibly just by chance here. As there is a bunch of very much perverse families, anywhere in the world, there would have been most certainly a bunch of very specific kibbutzim where this perversity could have been very systematized, undermining very much its quality of life, determining illness and suffering. Some kibbutzim ended because almost none of their "children" would want to stay in there and only very old members who collectively owned everything and decided over everything, but couldn't work properly any more, were about to stay alone in there, unable to generate enough income to support themselves. If this movie had come about at the '70s, perhaps kibbutz life alternative would still endure, and we wouldn't have as now the baby thrown out with the bath's water - everything wonderful about life in a kibbutz ended because of unsolved systematic problems in its very own human system.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Have just seen the European Premier of this film at the Berlin Film
Festival where it deservedly won 1st prize in the 'Generation14k Plus'
The story is set in a Kibbutz in Israel where 12 year old Dvir (Tomer Steinhof in his debut movie) faces many trials as he is entering his bar mitzvah year. The most difficult one is coping with his mother Miri whom he loves above all else. She lives in a very fragile mental state and Dvir knows he must protect her from herself. A romance with a newly arrived Swiss visitor briefly raises her spirits, but the romance is doomed to failure and Dvir must make the most difficult decision of his young life.
The photography is stunning and the young actor who plays the lead gives an astonishing performance as the boy who loves his disturbed mother so deeply. The ending is truly heartbreaking yet strangely uplifting. I urge you to see this wonderful film if it comes to your part of the world, and hope that a DVD release is not too far distant.
I think that it is unfair to say that this film is a vehicle to question the justification for a Jewish state, as the reviewer above notes. The film is a stark examination of the social and cultural pressures operating within the closed community of the kibbutz collective. No doubt, the response to the main character's illness both from the collective and from the individuals of the community receives harsh treatment here, but I fail to see this as a global condemnation of Israeli society. The main characters unraveling and her family's attempts to deal with this are very well done and the treatment is sincere and thoughtful. It's hard to believe that the story takes place as recently as 1974.Hadn't we come farther than that by then?
I saw Sweet Mud at the Philadelphia Film Festival last night. My friend and I were expecting something slow-moving and maybe boring at times, but we were pleasantly surprised. The movie sold out (word must have gotten around) and you could tell by the audience's reactions that everyone loved it. This film gives such a detailed view of life on a commune, and at the same time it showed a young boy's struggle with his depressed single mother with plenty of comedic moments. I'm not much of a reviewer but I highly recommend seeing this film... it's playing again in Philadelphia this Tuesday at the Ritz Five, for those of you who live in the area!
Terribly disturbing to see a man (thankfully not realistically)
receiving oral sex from a calf in the opening few minutes. Fortunately
it gets better. Much better. It won the World Cinema Jury Prize -
Dramatic at Sundance as well as the top Israeli film award. We get to
see a slice of life on a kibbutz in the 70's and what is presented is
portrayed quite well here. It does appear, though, that there is some
dissension amongst Jews on whether this is an accurate view or not.
From this outsider's view, it's a great story that's well told with
7.1 / 10 stars
--Zoooma, a Kat Pirate Screener
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