Based on the novel "Panther in the Basement" by the world-renowned author, Amos Oz, the movie takes place in Palestine in 1947, just a few months before Israel becomes a state. Proffy ... See full summary »
Based on the novel "Panther in the Basement" by the world-renowned author, Amos Oz, the movie takes place in Palestine in 1947, just a few months before Israel becomes a state. Proffy Liebowitz, a militant yet sensitive eleven year old wants nothing more than for the occupying British to get the hell out of his land. Proffy and his two friends spend most of their time plotting ways to terrorize and/or blow up the British until one evening, while he's out after curfew, Proffy is seized by Sergeant Dunlop, a British officer. Instead of arresting him, he deposits him back home,but what ensues in the weeks to come is a friendship between these two foes. Proffy looks to Dunlop as a father figure as his own father is cold and remote. Dunlop, lonely and poetic, loves the spirited boy and they find lots to talk about in their meetings which Proffy must keep a secret from his friends and family. When Proffy's friends follow him one day and see that he has been visiting the detested enemy, they... Written by
THE LITTLE TRAITOR is a touching little film based on the Amos Oz novel 'Panther in the Basement' and adapted for the screen and directed by Lynn Roth. Made in 2007 but for some reason not commercially released in the USA until On Demand films became popular on television, it is now available in DVD and deserves attention, especially in the current situation of the Middle East situation. This is one of those films that may be small or low budget, but carries a rather profound message that transcends political restrictions or biases.
The story takes place in 1947 Palestine before the formation of Israel as state in 1948. Proffy Liebowitz (Ido Port) may be only eleven years old but he is very bright and has insights into the political situation of the times. He was conceived in Poland but born in Palestine when his parents immigrated in hopes of forming a Jewish state of fellow WW II survivors from the concentration camps. Proffy resents the presence of the British in Paelstine who inflict curfews on the citizens of Jerusalem and joins with his buddies to plan bombs and other ordinances to terrorize the British make their motto of Freedom Or Death meaningful. Proffy's father (Rami Heuberger) is a harsh disciplinarian: he and his wife give sanctuary for immigrant homeless Jews and don't want Proffy to disturb the British policing of the city for fear of altering their roles as protectors.
Out beyond curfew time one evening Proffy encounters British Sergeant Dunlop (Alfred Molina) and somehow the two connect: Dunlop does not arrest Proffy but instead returns him to his home with the promise that Proffy will join him for lunch the next day! Proffy's father grounds him for a week, but finally when Proffy is released he looks up Dunlop and the two share literature and conversation, times that allow each to understand the other's stance and personality, and Proffy begins to see the warmly generous Dunlop as a father figure - a man who psychologically replaces Proffy's own cold and remote father. Their friendship becomes a strong bond between what Proffy had once considered a clash of enemies. As their friendship builds Proffy's young friends discover the relationship and begin to spread rumors that Proffy is passing Jewish intelligence to the British. Proffy is interrogated (Theodore Bikel) and how the Jews and the British deal with this is the climax of the story. We do see years later the old Dunlop meet the now adult Proffy (Natan Ravich) in a very touching scene.
Alfred Molina once again proves that he can make even a small film rise to a fine standard and his interaction with the young Ido Port is memorable. The film is in English and Hebrew with subtitles. Recommended for all audiences.
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