The life story of legendary Israeli poet Yona Wallach.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Yona Wallach
Itamar Rotschild
Tadeuch (as Tom Hagai)
Esther Wallach
Michal Varshai ...
Nira Wallach
Amir Weiser ...
Michael Wallach
Neta Orbach ...
Young Yona
Ela Grufman ...
Young Neta
Ilan Hazan ...
Dr. Luria
Dr. Vinick
Dor Aloni ...
Assaf Solomon ...
Yona Rozenkier ...


The life story of legendary Israeli poet Yona Wallach.

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18 December 2014 (Israel)  »

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Unfortunately it centers around a character we can't identify with
17 October 2016 | by (Israel) – See all my reviews

Leonard Cohen wrote, "you know that she's half crazy but that's why you want to be there." We know that Israeli poet Yona Wallach was half crazy but the movie doesn't completely convince us that we want to be there. We see people sympathizing with her-- many people-- but they are defined almost entirely in terms of their relationship to her (which basically consists of liking her and/or her poetry) and their sympathy is taken for granted; it doesn't draw us in. They pop up, sometimes unexpectedly from far away, to see her, but we can't sympathize with Yona much ourselves because although here and there we get a bit of explanation regarding her frustrations, she's too unpredictable to be identified with. What the movie does provide to rally us to her side is extracts from her poetry, reminding us that she does deserve a biopic. I saw the movie in Hebrew, without an English translation, but I see in the credits that the poetry is translated into English by Linda Zisquit and I trust her. She writes good poetry of her own. Naomi Levov received a best actress nomination for the title role; it's one of those on-screen-every-moment roles, and she does hold interest throughout.

Not everybody's poetry comes across well on first hearing, and without the full text to look at, but Yona Wallach's poetry is not a problem. The problem, as in any movie about a writer, is in depicting the creative process. In the movie, either Yona has a poem in her head, apparently fully formed, or she doesn't. The story makes a big deal over whether she can or can't write, and it's a pity that the filmmakers couldn't crack the problem of showing how the poems develop. But Leonard Cohen had something to say about that too. He said, "If I knew where the poems come from, I'd go there more often."

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