"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.


Friday, January 22, 2016

Attacking Difficult Subjects

Wedding Doll, by Nitzan Gilady, is currently playing in Israeli movie houses.  The film tells the story of Hagit, a somewhat mentally challenged young adult who lives with her mother in a remote desert town.  She has a job in a toilet paper factory, where the boss' son takes an interest in her.  Even though she is naive and perhaps lacking in understanding about the ways of the world, she is like other girls her age -- wanting only to be liked and dreaming of one day being a bride.  She spends her time making little paper dolls with wedding veils.  

In many ways this is a very touching story, the acting is great and Hagit is shown to be a surprisingly strong and assertive young woman.  The boss' son, on the other hand, is not held in high esteem by his father, and perhaps as a result, he becomes involved with a group of bad boys who provide him with the outlet for his disappointments. 
I viewed the film at its unveiling at the Jerusalem Film Festival  last summer, but I didn't write about it then because overall, I was disappointed in it for two reasons. Firstly, it was lacking in depth of script.  It could have been a very good short drama, but as a full-length feature film, it was lacking in complexity.  Secondly, I don't like dark films that slowly build on the viewer's fears by dancing around an important issue -- here it is the abuse and general daily humiliation of people who are different.  What do I mean?  There is a creepy feeling throughout that the boss' son and his hooligan friends are just waiting to pounce.  I felt myself worrying  -- what are they going to do to her and will she be strong enough to fight for herself.  Instead, I should have been caught up in a cinematic portrayal of a wonderfully unique young woman who has so much to live for.

Despite these flaws, Wedding Doll provides an authentic glimpse at the lives of young adults who are different and how they must overcome challenges and struggle in order to find a meaningful life within our society.     

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