He's a native Israeli. She's a Russian immigrant. He's a taxi driver. She's a music teacher. He has no aspirations. She gave up hers long ago. He is afraid of flying and she is about to fly away. What are the odds they'll end up together?
Only 5 flight hours from Paris, in a working-class suburb of Tel Aviv, two people meet. He is a bred-and-born Israeli and she is a Russian immigrant. He is a taxi driver and she is a music teacher. He has no aspirations. She gave up hers long ago. He is afraid of flying and she is about to fly away. What are the odds of them ending up together? Written by
In a working-class suburb of Tel Aviv, Yigal, a divorced taxi driver (Dror Keren) works with a psychologist to conquer his fear of flying so he can go to Paris for his son's bar mitzvah. He meets Lina (Helena Yaralova), a Russian former concert pianist who teaches music at his son's school. But she is a married woman on the brink of leaving Israel to join her husband Grisha in Canada. So when Grisha (Vladimir Friedman) returns, Lina must make some difficult choices...
I have rarely seen such a charming movie coming from Israel. Not that Israeli cinema isn't charming, but what we usually get here (in France) is pretty heavy serious stuff, i.e. politically engaged films or "movies-with-a-message". "Five Hours from Paris" is a sweet and delightful little film which brought a breeze of fresh air in the cinema theater where I sat to watch it. The two main characters are absolutely adorable (Dror Keren, you have a fan here!) and director Leonid Prudovsky has written a delicate romantic comedy which is almost like real life. The actors may be not very famous and the setting not really exceptional, yet this film is really endearing, for it delivers quite a simple and warm message: yes, two seemingly different people can grow together and open to love.
I guess I was lucky I could enjoy this film at a nearby theater, for a French chain of art cinemas removed "Five hours from Paris" from scheduling last month (June 2010) in light of Israel's involvement in the Gaza flotilla raid. Let me state here that it was a shameful decision, for there is nothing in "Five Hours from Paris" that could raise your eyebrows. It is on the contrary quite a universal and tender movie. Besides, censoring romantic comedies like this one is clearly not the right answer to the world's great disorder. Under the pretext that this film has the Israeli nationality, it is penalized -- but have we ever censored singer Miriam Makeba when there was apartheid in South Africa? (To be fair and honest, I have to mention that under the media and public pressure, the French chain of art cinemas eventually changed its decision.) I hope that those foolish considerations won't keep anyone away from this little and francophile treat. "Francophile?" Oh yes, I forgot to mention that in spite of the mix of Russian and Hebrew you hear throughout the whole movie, it had a familiar taste to me as it is full of French songs from the 60s (I admit that Joe Dassin's songs are probably the most dangerous things in the film).
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