"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, September 16, 2016

One Week and a Day by Asaf Polonsky

The award-winning One Week and a Day, directed by Asaf Polonsky, is a quirky tragi-comedy about fathers and sons, family issues, and bereavement.  It is interesting to note that this is a film about losing a son – not to terrorism or to war -- but to cancer.  This is a personal loss which is very difficult to deal with and is not as common in Israeli films.  First-time feature film director Polonsky must be commended for tackling such a difficult subject head-on.

The story is about Eyal and Vicky, a married couple who have just finished sitting shiva for their son, Ronnie.  When the shiva house clears out and they are left alone, they agree to try to get back to normal life.  Vicky tries hard -- going to work, doing her usual jogging, and even keeping a dentist appointment. 

Eyal, on the other hand, is not able to even make the attempt.  A bit bewildered, he sets out to collect his son’s belongings from the hospice where he was taken care of at the end of his illness.  Instead of the colorful blanket that he is looking for, he finds what remains of his son’s medical marijuana, and thus ensues a really humorous scene in which we watch a middle-aged man trying to roll a joint!  Enlisting assistance from a somewhat spaced-out young neighbor who works as a delivery boy, he learns much more than how to roll a joint, and thus begins a day of mischief and healing.

In a last minute attempt to reserve the burial plot next to his son, Eyal finds himself at the funeral of the woman who is to be buried there.  Instead of a series of gags (like the rest of the film), this scene in the cemetery was the most compelling.  Not only are we drawn in by the eulogy, but also by the man delivering it!  Here Eyal is quite visibly moved -- it can be surprisingly comforting to know who will be lying next to your son and perhaps, even watching over him.  The dozens and dozens and dozens of graves that confuse Eyal as he runs around the cemetery, and the tall buildings of Tel Aviv crushing down on him from the background, all seem to provide a perfect setting for a troubled man who is having a crisis following the loss of a grown child.

One Week and a Day is available from NewEurope Film Sales.

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