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In one of TEL-AVIV's oldest neighborhoods, a senior antique furniture restorer is struggling to keep his workshop alive, confronting his own son who is trying to close down shop and aided by his young and bizarre apprentice who wishes to succeed him. Written by
One of the pivotal scenes in RESTORATION takes place in an automobile, and the automobile lends the scene an appropriately baleful taste of incongruity because for the most part our sense is that this movie deals with an old neighborhood-- in South Tel Aviv-- where life is geographically self-contained and nobody's lifestyle includes an auto. Old people sleep in small, cluttered old apartments, eat in small, cluttered old restaurants close by, and work close by in small, cluttered old workshops, all in a dusty-colored world that is soon to be killed by gentrification. The protagonist must confront the implications of the death of his friend and business partner-- a loss that cannot be easily filled because the business, like the whole neighborhood, has nothing left to attract people but its threadbare beauty. The director has remarked that even for an Israeli movie, this one was budgeted low; but unlike most Israeli movies, it runs closer to two hours than one and a half. As it plays out and the protagonist seeks with determination to repair the damage to his life, the script sketches a small but unusual web of human relationships and cross- purposes that, as another comment here remarks, could take place anywhere. I think that the movie is an excellent candidate for a foreign remake, if actors as talented as Sasson Gabai and those who support him here are available.
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