"World Cinema: Israel"

My book, "World Cinema: Israel" (originally published in 1996) is available from Amazon on "Kindle", with an in-depth chapter comparing and analyzing internationally acclaimed Israeli films up to 2010.

Want to see some of the best films of recent years? Just scroll down to "best films" to find listings of my recommendations.


Sunday, July 3, 2011


Dusk, a new Israeli feature film which opened in movie theaters in Israel last week, is a first feature film directed by Alon Zingman.  The film offers four human stories that come together in one day.  The title of the film, Dusk, בין השמשות  , refers to that moment of the day, when the day is ending and the evening is beginning.  All of these four vignettes, a collection of situations on the background of deceit, come together at dusk in a local hospital.

The first story is about a young woman who returns from a trip to Peru.  Her father comes to pick her up at the airport and, on their way home, he hits a cyclist on a lonely road.   

The second tale is about a mother of a six-year-old girl who goes to get a marriage license.  At the licensing office, the bureaucracy spews out a form that tells her that she was adopted.  She becomes obsessed with this new piece of information and goes to seek out her biological mother.  During the course of the film, we discover that her biological mother is also the mother of the cyclist who was hit on the road. 

In the third tale, a very attractive immigrant mother from Argentina takes her 9-year old son to the hospital for him to have a brit milah (circumcision).  There, she has a few moments of intimacy and friendship with the doctor while her son has an encounter with a cancer victim. 

The fourth tale is about a father-son relationship.  A policeman, who abandoned his wife and child many years ago, wants to renew his relationship with his son who is now a doctor at the hospital. 

When asked on an interview on Israel Radio (Reshet Bet) about why the film has so many sad plot elements, the director, Alon Zingman, answered: "These are true tales from our lives.  I think there's a lot of humanity here."  He also talked about the film's autobiographical elements – his own parents came from Argentina in 1964.  At first, they couldn't have children. After they adopted their first son, Alon was born.  So he grew up with adoption in his family.

Dusk is surprisingly well executed with very good acting, beautifully directed, very human and heart-wrenching tales, some of them with real moments of tension.  However, when the stories come together in the hospital, there is no real denouement and no feeling of tying it all together -- like ships passing in the night.  Perhaps this is a comment on our existential condition.

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