Menachem, a former frontman for a rock band, is now religious, and a father to a six-year-old. When his daughter is diagnosed with cancer, he must find a creative solution to fund the ...
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Menachem, a former frontman for a rock band, is now religious, and a father to a six-year-old. When his daughter is diagnosed with cancer, he must find a creative solution to fund the expensive treatments. He reunites his band for one last tour. The journey to save his daughter exposes old wounds and allows him to reconnect with his secular past. Menachem understands that only a new connection to his past and to his music can pave the road to his own redemption.Written by
Jerusalem Film Festival
The film begins with a burst of music that sounded very likeable to me, particularly the percussion. And it turns out that indeed there's an indispensable drummer whom the protagonist is trying to recruit in order to get their old band back together. (What, a "get the old band back together" movie? In 2018?) He needs to perform with the band in order to raise funds for his daughter's cancer treatment. (We are not getting any less hackneyed here...) And it's a little complicated because he's become religiously observant. (Again? We just had an Israeli "music star becomes religiously observant" movie, The Other Story, earlier in the year.)
As if it understands that these elements are pretty well known to the audience, the movie skims over them without too much exposition. We follow the protagonist as he faces his challenges, the way we would follow any generic protagonist, until at a certain point he stops being generic. He turns out to be a troubled man in his own specific but philosophically resonant way, and having already begun to root for him against the world, we begin in addition to root for him against himself. That he needs redemption is a little overobvious from the movie's English-language title. Its Hebrew title, Geula, does mean "redemption" but it's the name of his little girl as well.
Like Madmoni's early film The Barbecue People, this one has a climax that depends perhaps a little too much on narration of antecedent action. But it's obvious that, as one of the external reviewers says, the filmmakers felt like keeping the audience at a remove. Some incidents go unshown as the plot proceeds, and from time to time the action occurs in about a quarter of the frame while a blank wall fills the rest of the screen. Not a problem. By forcing the audience to make a bit of an effort, and leaving bits unsaid and unshown, the movie strengthens the audience's feeling of participation.
Largely a study of one man's struggle, the movie doesn't pause anywhere to let the supporting actors shine forth. It does pause to let brief musical sequences serve as punctuation. Although Madmoni has been quoted as saying that all the actors are musicians, the filmmakers make little attempt to convince us that the actors are actually playing their instruments; most of the time the camera simply avoids their hands as they play.
Not too much of the movie rests on the daughter's shoulders, but little actress Emily Granin handles her role with all the necessary believability. The settings and the throngs of extras are believable too. As an Israeli, I'm always interested in exactly where Israeli movies are supposed to take place. This one mentions at one point that it's in Bnei Brak, but there is no emphatic linkage to that specific place by means of the plot or photography. Maybe we're supposed to understand that the story is universal; but it's admirably told and I think we would have understood that point anyway.
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