Life was no picnic for the common folk of Jerusalem during the economic slump that preceded the Six Day War, and particularly not for young Aharon, with his harsh-haranguing mother, bumblingly maturing big sister, incapacitated grandmother, and war-scarred father. The movie shows us this depressing situation at considerable length before it provides a plot thread or two that the viewer can confidently distinguish as important. They involve puppy love for Aharon and a somewhat surrealistic palliative for the loneliness of a piano-playing neighbor. Miscast as the lonely neighbor is Evelyn Kaplun, who at 40 is still too beautiful to be convincingly lonely without a reason. As the movie continues past the halfway point, some incisive narration comes in, perhaps from the novel by David Grossman that is the movie's source. The narration is helpful as a clue to the movie's themes, especially because some details-- such as Aharon's vegetarianism-- seem underdeveloped. Where the momentum takes us, when it finally builds up steam, is through some fantasy sequences that provide welcome relief and then into an episode of a kind that does not just fail to please movie audiences but turns them hostile. The film was nominated for 12 prizes in the Israeli Film and Television Academy's annual competition and won not a single one of them.
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