"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.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A New Film by Erez Tadmor and Guy Nattiv

Erez Tadmor and Guy Nattiv are friends since film school.  In the past, they worked together and  made Strangers, previously reviewed on this blog.  In addition, Guy Nattiv is known for Mabul, previously reviewed on this blog;  Erez Tadmor is known for his film, A Matter of Size, which he directed together with Sharon Maymon.  (It is interesting to note that the screenplay for this film was a joint effort of Tadmor, Nattiv and Maymon. )
Their newest film, Magic Men  בן של אלוהים, which premiered this week at the Haifa Film Festival, is a road movie -- the story of a reconciliation between father and son.  Avraham is a 78-year-old Holocaust survivor from Thessaloniki, now living in Israel where he and his wife have a grocery store.  He travels back to Greece for a Holocaust commemorative ceremony and is shadowed by his estranged son who worries about him.  While there Avraham is looking for an old friend who saved him during the war and taught him magic tricks so that he could survive on the street.   In his search, he is befriended by a local prostitute who assists him.  But, instead of finding his mysterious and elusive friend, he "discovers" his son (a religious Chassidic  rap singer) and they rebuild their relationship.  

Not a film of great depth, but there are some quirky characters, scenes of whimsy, and beautiful views of Thessaloniki.  The scene of father-son reconciliation, although not developed through any words,  is quite dramatic - filled with impassioned Greek dancing, something reminiscent of Zorba the Greek!

Through theater or film, you can more easily put yourself in the shoes of the other.  Here, Makram Khoury, an Israeli Arab actor, plays with great feeling the main character -- a Jew, a Holocaust survivor.  There is tremendous irony when Avraham (played by Khoury) experiences anti-semitism at the hands of skinheads on a night-time bus in Thessaloniki.  Khoury is from Haifa and the Haifa Film Festival audience gave him a standing ovation for his skillful interpretation of the character in this film. 

Magic Men is available from Go2Films. 

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