"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.


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Love and Betrayal

Obsession רסיסי אהבה directed by Nissim Notrika (Israel, 2011) opened this week in Israeli movie theaters.  Based on a true story, the film takes place in 1968 in a Sephardi Jerusalem neighborhood.  The film opens with a woman talking as if from the grave – "To all my children, make me a beautiful grave, don't grieve for me, but make me a small headstone because I never had anything beautiful – not beautiful clothes or furniture or apartment.  I never had a happy life."

This is the story of Malka who has no happiness in her life.  She is married to a charismatic and good looking man who not only is unable to earn enough to support his family, he plays cards, drinks, and has a regular mistress on the side.  All of the humiliation notwithstanding, Malka struggles to keep their home normal and to save their marriage.  They have four children -- their oldest son is in the army, their teenage daughter lives on a kibbutz, the next son is about to be bar mitzvahed, and the youngest, Micha, doesn't speak but he is the observer in the film – he witnesses everything.

This is a great ethnic tale and an authentic period piece, portraying interesting Sephardi characters.  The main character's mother is always cursing in Arabic and her sister takes her to a woman who offers a form of witchcraft – providing her with love potions in order to make her husband more attracted to her.

Watching the film, I couldn't help feeling that the 1960s seem so long ago with the ethnicity, the chauvinism and the superstition which filled the characters' lives during that period.

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