Phobidilia (2009) Poster

(2009)

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Retreating from nowhere interesting to nowhere interesting
Nozz20 October 2011
A traumatized young man retreats into himself, he is induced briefly to reestablish contact with the world, but he wonders whether he wasn't better off by himself after all. The premise isn't a bad one; it worked for The Who's TOMMY, for Dan Wollman's HA-TIMHONI, and for Neil Diamond's SHILOH. Here, unfortunately, not so much-- maybe primarily because we don't get a strong enough sense that the world the protagonist retreated from is so bad, nor that the world he retreats into has much allure, nor that he has any personal merits or promise; he's merely a disturbed fellow with whom we can't identify, and we can't identify with any other major character here either. A girl comes knocking on the door (literally) and is supposed to be the protagonist's hold on reality, but her own behavior is unrealistic even by filmscript standards. Also, there is a syndrome that better Israeli movie makers long ago cured themselves of-- the attempt not to be identifiably Israeli. Pathetically, the movie even includes a grandfatherly character called "Grumps"-- evidently because nobody with an ear for English was around to correct it to "Gramps." On the plus side... the soundtrack is quite good.
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9/10
Welcome to the Nightmare of a Perfect World
George_Huang5 July 2010
Isolation is definitely a modern syndrome. In this internet era, everyone can do almost everything at home without walking out of the house one single bitÂ… except for the REAL interactions. This film debut by the talented Paz brothers from Israel is based on a novel under the same name by Izhar Harlev about this whole globalization impact on individuals.

Our hero here is a young guy with some kind of mental disorder in public places, so he had to build up a world of his own detached with outside world completely. This would seem like a perfect life style for many people living in the modern world, but if you think the carefree would last forever, think twice.

When the old housekeeper Grumps gave him an limited time notice to move out, the obstacles of his perfect life came along one after another. Under the pressure of not being able to keep the house, his life was also interrupted by a cable company saleswoman Daniela. But the once-seemed obstacles gradually became a cure for his anxiety of making contacts with real human beings.

On the other hand, after being disturbed, his affection towards to the lovely web-cam girl Jessica also turned into paranoia and denial. He started to aware of the emptiness of the world he lives in and let Daniela invade his heart. Surprisingly, instead of being threatened, he felt a refreshing liberation.

Though there're subplots about the past which caused his syndrome and a hint of the holocaust shadows that are hard to get rid of from Grumps, this is more of a new Israeli cinema that concerns about the younger generations not only in Israel but worldwide. It has the vitality that we couldn't find in other Israeli films with serious themes. Does this mean a whole new Israeli direction has begun? At least we know the great film-making of the country has widely attracted our attentions.
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