Eliezer and Uriel Shkolnik are father and son as well as rival professors in Talmudic Studies. When both men learn that Eliezer will be lauded for his work, their complicated relationship reaches a new peak.
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The story of a great rivalry between a father and son, both eccentric professors in the Talmud department of Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The son has an addictive dependency on the embrace and accolades that the establishment provides, while his father is a stubborn purist with a fear and profound revulsion for what the establishment stands for, yet beneath his contempt lies a desperate thirst for some kind of recognition. The Israel Prize, Israel's most prestigious national award, is the jewel that brings these two to a final, bitter confrontation. Written by
Two great lead performances that couldn't be any more different.
Footnote, one of the five nominees for Best Foreign Language films at the Oscars earlier this year, boasts two extraordinary performances. And it's absolutely vital that those two performances are pitch perfect, because the key to the film's drama and tension lies in those particular characters.
The premise is fairly straightforward. A father and son are both philogy professors at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Eliezer Shkolnik is an old school researcher who believes findings are only valid if research is conducted in the proper scientific method, while his son, Uriel, follows the more modern philosophy. Eliezer loathes the popularity and acceptance of the current methods, and is so stubborn he even refuses to cancel one of his classes even though only one student is signed.
Having background on research methods or philology is not necessary however, when it comes to following along the movie. Shlomo Bar'aba and Lior Ashkenazi, as Eliezer and Uriel respectively, both make sure to humanize their characters and portray their conflicting ideals by showcasing conflicting personalities as wells.
The plot gets really interesting when Eliezer finds out he has been voted the winner of the Israel Prize, forcing him to rethink how he feels his colleagues, and the field in general. However, Uriel soon gets a phone call that will shake things up even more.
Unfortunately, Footnote does not deliver a satisfying conclusion, at least not a memorable one. The tension is slowly built up really well as the film cuts deeper into the plot, yet when the time comes for a huge clash, the film ends up kinds of just floating around not knowing the right time to fade out. However, the meat of the film is too good to be ignored, as both Bar'aba and Ashkenazi deliver performances you won't soon forget.
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