|Index||4 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The story written by Erez Kav-El for 'Good Morning Mr. Fidelman'
(translated in English by 'Restoration' at the request of the
organizers of the Sundance festival) smartly gathers together in the
micro-cosmos of the movie many pieces of the puzzle which is the
Israeli society today. A society composed or religious people and of
non-believers, of Jews coming from European and Middle-Eastern
backgrounds, of tradition and modernity, of rich and poor, of locals
and strangers. One of the key characters of the film is Anton, and many
things remain unknown about his character. He comes from nowhere in the
Southern part of Tel Aviv, the humble and vanishing neighborhood at the
shade of the high, modern and expending part of the young city and he
will disappear to nowhere at the end of the film. We know little about
his identity before and nothing about what will happen to him after,
his past seems to be a dangerous mix of art and crime, he is the
prototype of the stranger with no roots whose secrets are well hidden
and whose identity gets meaning only when reflected into the souls of
other. Yet during the film we shall see him earning a spiritual father,
learning a new craft which is close to art, falling in love and risking
with his presence to break the balance of the family and social fabric
Anton, the stranger becomes involved in two triangles. One may seem at first sight a traditional husband-wife-lover triangle, but the young woman is pregnant and the husband is the young and greedy finance tycoon-in-becoming who looks so much like many of the materialistic Israeli (and not only Israeli) young men today, so the conflict is not only romantic but also a social one. The second one is a father-son-spiritual son conflict, between the old Mr. Fidelman, his son and again the stranger which actually reflects as in a mirror the relation between the father, son and partner of Fidelman, Malamud, who dies at the beginning of the story. The relation between father and son seems to be a preferred theme in recent Israeli movies, describing not only the tension between generations, between tradition and modernity, but also the one between the Israel that could have been the the country it became.
Then we have Sasson Gabai. This wonderful actor is now beyond what can be described as stardom. He more than shines in every role he makes on screen, on stage or at TV - he lives and becomes his characters to the point that he makes them part of our lives . His Mr. Fidelman is a tough and grumpy old man whose whole universe is his antiques shop and his craftsmanship of restoring old furniture, and this universe risks to be lost when his partner dies and his son inherits the business and plans to sell it. His savior may be Anton, the stranger, who seems eager to learn the art and share with Fidelman the feelings refused by his son. Or maybe it is the old piano that may or may not be or become a piece of value which may ensure financial survival. However any of these saving acts would come at the expense of the gathering back of his broken family, and at the climax moment Fidelman will need to make the crucial decision.
It is so refreshing for me to discover another Israeli director with a distinct voice, making of his only second big screen film such a mature, complex, and sensible piece of cinema. It is not a perfect one, and the rhythm of the story-telling will limit the satisfied audiences to the small art cinema theaters, but yet the hall was almost full last night at the screening at the Herzlya Cinematheque. If the saying goes true that maturity and fullness of a school of cinema is measured not in blockbusters but in the good average films, then 'Boker Tov Adon Fidelman' may be a good sign of maturity and fullness.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I don't want to give away any spoilers so I'll be vague on purpose. This movie is deceptively simple. There is much more to it than meets the eye. It has an "open" end. By open I mean that it may have several alternative interpretations. You may come out a bit puzzled not understanding why the main protagonist has taken a certain decision which is the opposite of what you would expect. I think that this decision is crucial to the understanding of the whole movie. Just ask yourself: what would Fidelman gain and what would he lose by making the expected decision and what would he gain and lose by making the actual decision.
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.
The movie is a good representation of everyday life and everyday occurrences. It does not try to shock you or excite you it is trying to show one aspect of our life, a relationship between a son and his dad. A strained relationship at the best. The movie has no political agenda behind it, the movie is set in Israel but can be anywhere else in the world. It has some interesting visual aspects that will entertain you and some plot twists but not enough. The dialog is somewhat boring and does not create any excitement for the movie itself, the dialog is similar to everyday home dialog. It almost feels sometimes that this is montage of a reality show put together. Over all the movie is slow to start and slow going it is better over a cup of warm tea and i think should be shortened to keep the audience.
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