"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, November 10, 2015

Father-son relations

Baba Joon, directed by Yuval Delshad, is a new Israeli feature film which won five Israeli  Ophir awards this year, including for best film, cinematography, art direction and score. The title of the film is a Farsi term of endearment, similar to "papa".  In fact, the film is in both Hebrew and Farsi. 

This is a story of a multi-generational family, living on a religious moshav in the Negev during the 1980s.  Yitzhak runs the family turkey business, which his father built up when they emigrated from Iran. Yitzhak, as his father was before him, is very strict with his son, demanding that he continue the ways of the family.  Now, he wants his son, Moti, to learn the business.  It's hard work and not very exciting for a growing adolescent boy, who is more interested in tinkering and inventing things in the family's junkyard.   

On another level, this is a story of the immigrant generation clashing with the creative and vibrant Israeli-born  generation over issues of family, tradition and personal freedom -- one generation is keeping the old ways of life and the other is inventing new ones.

Although a peripheral figure, the boy's mother has the role of peace-maker in the family. She tells her husband, Yitzhak, who is a domineering and stubborn father, "A tree that can't bend in a storm will break."

According to the filmmaker (from the film's website) -- Conflicts between father and son take place in every country in the world, in any profession, whether in a city or a village or any patriarchal society where men hold all the authority and pass it down through the generations. Every parent’s desire to care for their children’s future and keep them close is natural, and yet it clashes with every young person’s will to forge a path of their own, sometimes far away from their parents. In the extreme cases where the parent insists on stopping his child’s will, he will often find himself falling short of his goal and alienating his children instead.

This is not a complex story, but it is certainly touching, compelling and even a bit exotic.  In this day and age, when our relations with Iran are so tense and people are truly worried about preventing a nuclear disaster, along comes a new filmmaker who creates a semi-autobiographical statement that reminds us that many Israelis originally came from Iran.

Baba Joon is produced by United King Films.  Check out the film's website to view the trailer and for distribution info.

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