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
Joseph Cedar has written and directed a truly multifaceted film. "Footnote" is listed as a comedy, however, I found it to weigh more toward the dramatic side with a peppering of comedy that is well done and not overly utilized. The story is about a father and son who are prominent Talmudic scholars in Israel and who are competitive in the academic world where they both work. Shlomo Bar-Aba plays Eluezer Shkolnik the older of the two, and his performance is filled with struggle and empathy that pervades the film. The son is played by Lior Ashkenazi and he too provides a convincing portrayal as well. The family relationships are weighed heavily and transcend the entire movie which takes place in Academia. The film is rich in tradition, and the music complements it with great synchrony. The ending is abrupt, and it encourages some extra time thinking about the content. However, it also induces satisfaction in knowing that the cultural display of relationships and social intercourse are well documented on the screen. Some of the film dealing with comedy is not a belly splitter, but it is way of lightening the mood, and noted to be a well recognized mechanism of writing even in Shakespeare's writings. Although the relationship of the father and son is a strained one throughout the film, it also is a transcultural one that exudes with emotion and intellectual curiosity. This film is well worth a trip to the cinema or one can just wait for the Blu Ray DVD to be available.
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