The Farewell Party מיתה טובה (directed by Tal Granit and Sharon Maymon), now playing in Israeli movie theaters, received a lot of attention at its premiere screening at the Venice Film Festival recently. The film is about euthanasia and also about the difficulties and frustrations of living with serious diseases as we grow older. This is not light subject matter, but the filmmakers have decided to attack the subject using humor and farce. However, frequently throughout the film, I felt that the genre slipped back and forth between comedy and sentimental drama.
The film stars Ze'ev Revach and Levana Finkelstein, both of whom are veteran Israeli actors of theater, film and television, who are greatly revered by Israeli audiences.
Living in a home for the elderly, a bunch of friends get together to help one of their closest friends end his life. Yehezkel (Revach) invents a machine that will permit their friend to end his own life by pressing a button which releases first a tranquilizer into his intravenous tube and then after a short while releases the medicine that will stop the heart. When others hear about this, they come asking for their services, creating all kinds of humorous incidents
There is a parallel plot line which creates the sentimental and dramatic element of the film -- Yehezkel's wife (Finkelstein) is slowly deteriorating, losing her mental capacity, forgetting things, and becoming confused. One day she walks into the breakfast room stark naked. Later, when she realizes what she has done, she is completely humiliated and refuses to leave her apartment. Her friends appear that evening, sitting in the nearby flower hot house, all of them naked, in a delightful and remarkable attempt to make her feel better.
Both a romp and serious food for thought, at the same time, The Farewell Party is produced by United King.