In Tel Aviv, Yoav receives a visit from Delphine, the girlfriend of Emile, his boyfriend from Paris. Their day together in the city confronts their mutual expectations in the face of a complex Israeli society.
Love Letters to Cinema is a collection of ten "letters" in the form of short films (4 minutes each), written and directed by ten outstanding Israeli directors. The films and the directors ... See full summary »
In a world that does not appreciate artists, where sensitive souls don't stand a chance, a poetry-loving kindergarten teacher discovers a child poet and decides to take it upon herself to nurture him. To save his greatness from the world, to salvage him from the banal, the mediocre and the crude - to save him from life itself. It is the story of a female Don Quixote, who strives to save the world through the poetry of a child, and of a pensive child who has no desire to be saved.
Nira (Sarit Larry), a kindergarten teacher for fifteen years, is stunned when Yoav (Avi Shnaidman), her five-year-old student, announces in school, "I have a poem." The poem consists of only five lines, but the teacher finds magic in the words that the boy has seemingly just created while walking back and forth in the play area as if in a trance.
"Hagar is beautiful enough Enough for me Enough for me Gold rain falls over her house. It is truly the sun of god."
Brilliantly shot in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem by Shai Goldman, The Kindergarten Teacher, Israeli director Nadav Lapid's (Policeman, 2011) second feature, can be seen as a representation of an Israeli society where poetic sensibility has become lost in a culture that glorifies materialism, and where even the idealistic have lost their moral compass. A strangely affecting and disturbing film, The Kindergarten Teacher is at times perverse but also has moments of haunting beauty.
When Nira becomes convinced that Yoav is a poetic genius, comparable in her mind to the four-year-old Mozart, she become obsessed with a desire to protect him from an uncaring father (Yehezkel Lazarof), a wealthy restaurateur, and a mother who has taken off with a lover, but soon begins to cross the line between teaching the boy about life and protecting him from it. On the surface, Nira is a caring person, but the first hint that not all is right is when she passes off Yoav's poems as her own in her weekly poetry class, but fires Yoav's nanny Miri, (Ester Rada) when she learns that Miri also uses the boy's poems in her acting auditions.
Gradually, we begin to suspect that Nira sees the world only in terms of black and white, where there are no shades of gray or room for complexity. Lapid puts Nira's worldview in a larger context, "Israel society," he says "has developed a hermetic way of looking at the world, and it justifies everything, like we are the victims, and we are in permanent danger, and it creates a perfect order." When Nira leads the class in the Hanukah song, Mi Yimalel, which says that "In every age, a hero or sage came to our aid," the feeling is that Nira, the wife of a husband (Lior Raz) who watches game shows on TV, and the mother of a son serving in the military, sees herself as a present day Judas Maccabeus, an unlikely hero who will rescue Yoav from a world that is out to rob him of his individuality and sensitivity.
Lapid compares Nira's story to going to war "against a society that sanctifies profit, gain, richness, materialism," a society in which "the radical's rebellion suffers from the same diseases they try to heal, which is always the tragedy, and the inevitable destiny of the one who goes to war with his time." Nina's Christ-like decision to save Yoav from what she sees is his inevitable fate mirrors her own feelings of being the victim of a world where poets are anachronistic and sensitive souls are rejected. Like Christ, she is willing to suffer for other's sins, but does not seem capable of reflecting on the true meaning of grace.
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