Now that Itzhak's father is in a coma, and dying, Itzhak is finally willing to visit him, thus breaking a ten-year silence. During his visits to the hospital, Itzhak, a beaten and reserved ...
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A married, Orthodox, Jerusalem butcher and Jewish father of four falls in love with his handsome, 22-year-old male apprentice, triggering the suspicions of his wife and the disapproval of his Orthodox community.
Now that Itzhak's father is in a coma, and dying, Itzhak is finally willing to visit him, thus breaking a ten-year silence. During his visits to the hospital, Itzhak, a beaten and reserved man, is frustrated to find himself neglected by his own family: his wife, a long suppressed artist whose life's dream is fulfilled that same week; his twenty-seven-year-old son - a "philosopher" still living at home; and his twenty-five-year-old daughter - a tormented lesbian who has had no contact with her family for a long time. Itzhak doesn't realize, though, that his ten year old daughter, Didush, neglected and almost invisible to her family, is secretly visiting her grandfather whom she has never met previously and sets out to discover the old family secret. Written by
Jerusalem Film Festival
a family's secrets in a directorial debut and a great cast
The hospital calls that the elderly man in their care, a father and grandfather, has taken a turn for the worse. The nurse's voice suggests that it might be a good time to visit.
This simple call begins Things Behind the Sun, Yuval Shafferman's wonderfully detailed and excellently acted family drama. This dysfunctional family manages to stay together and even create harmony within its dissonance because it holds its secrets dear. Didush, the youngest daughter does not reveal her ability to understand the English her parents use in private conversation or that she has begun visiting the hospital. The older daughter, played by the always-excellent Tali Sharon, is so good at concealing her lesbianism that she even hides it from herself. The 30-year-old son pretends to participate in life, but for reasons unclear to all of us but fully accepted by his family, basically stays in his PJs all day. Itzchak, the father, will not talk about the visits he begins with his father, whose death seems suddenly less imminent. The wife, an artist on the verge of her first major show, has neglected to inform her family just how fully she has utilized them in various nude forms as subjects for her art. And no one discusses the reasons why the man in the hospital, once an integral part of the family, has been estranged from everyone for more than ten years.
But as the family members begin to talk to each other, what was hidden is revealed. The process by which the pretenses dissolve is entertaining and fascinating, without a single morbid moment. Every member of the cast has the opportunity to display a range of emotions, with each other as well as in scenes with Hilla Vidor who is delightful every moment she is on the screen, as a self-confident waitress, as the daughter's amused lover, and as the entire family's casual friend. The only politics in this family's world is lower case family politics, as the mother's long awaited debut is scheduled for the same week as the grandfather's death and the family tries to calculate the cost of supporting her with their own images on her canvases.
If forced, perhaps one can make a case that the family is a metaphor for the State, different factions unable to work together for the common happiness of all when crisis threatens, but Things Behind the Sun is peopled with memorable individuals who can stand without the prop of "greater meaning." This is an impressive debut by a first time filmmaker, ably assisted by a veteran cast.
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