A group of fat people from the Israeli city of Ramla is fed up with the sanctity of diets and the 'Dictatorship of the Thinness' of the diet workshop they participate in. They leave it and discover the world of sumo, where fat people like them are honored and appreciated. Through sumo they are connecting to themselves and to their fat body, each one in his own way. Herzl an obese guy, starts to work as a dish washer in a Japanese restaurant in Israel. Herzl is exposed to the world of Sumo through Kitano, the restaurant manager, who was a Sumo coach in Japan and escaped to Israel, after he got involved with the Yakuza. Herzl falls in love with the Sumo world and wants Kitano to be the Sumo coach of his obese friends that gave up their diet. "My Own Private Sumo" is a movie about the coming out of the closet of fat people and about their ability to accept their fatness and relate to their body through the world of sumo.Written by
Off-the-wall-Subject, Fatties Liberation; handled with care
At Budapest Israeli Film Week, Dec. 2016; "A Matter of Size" (Hebrew title, "Sipur Gadol" = 'A BIG Story'), 2009, 90 min., color. This is basically a feel-good love story about two people, Herzl and Zehava, who don't feel very good about themselves because they are exceptionally fat, but eventually find ways of coming to terms with their obesity. This could be called a gimmick film --the gimmick being Jewish Sumo wrestlers in Israel -- a pretty wild idea to start with --but it has so much else going for it that it transcends the gimmickry to become a thoughtful heart-warming picture. What is most unusual is that all the main actors, except for the Hebrew-speaking Japanese Sumo coach -- are actually quite fat and far from glamorous -- but are all very good actors and instantly engage our feelings for them. The oversize hero, Herzl, has a giant complex about his obesity, but in Sumo where fatness is prized, he finds a sense of worth. His girlfriend has her own weight problems and complexes, but through Herzl's unconditional devotion also comes to accept herself as is. Ultimately this is a film about self-acceptance in the face of Massive obstacles --and Sumo happens to be the vehicle to that end. Interestingly, other than the fact that the film takes place in Israel, there is nothing particularly Jewish about it. It could take place anywhere -- anywhere, that happens to have a Sushi restaurant run by a man who happens to be a retired Sumo referee... Gimmick-shmimmick -- a winner with elements of Rocky and Karate Kid deftly tossed together with a healthy helping of schmaltz. Written and directed in tandem by Erez Tadmor and Sharon Maymon --both of whom were present for a lively Q & A after the show. The production values are cutting-edge world class, indicating that Israeli film is no longer a provincial cottage industry for a captive audience, but a growing industry with international outreach. Main cast: Herzl --Itzik Cohen Zehava -- Irit Kaplan BOTTOM LINE: One for The Books
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