Our Father (Avinu), directed by Meni Yaish, tells the story of Ovadia who is a semi-religious, Sephardi married man. He is a wonderful husband, a good friend, and as we get to know him, we find him surprisingly lovable! He owns his own moving company and at night supplements his income by working as a bouncer at his friend’s nightclub. Ovadia and his wife have been trying for a long time to get pregnant and the IVF treatments via the kupat cholim system have not been working.
There is a small-time gangster who hangs out at the nightclub and he is impressed by Ovadia’s capabilities in dealing with troublemakers. When he offers him a well-paying job as a debt collector, Ovadia is attracted by the money which will enable him to pay for private IVF treatments for his wife. But debt collecting is not so simple and Ovadia is shocked at the things he is expected to do.
The film stars the husband and wife team, Morris Cohen and Rotem Zissman-Cohen, who became pregnant in real life as they were working on this film! You probably have seen Rotem in recent years in The Kind Words, God’s Neighbors and A Place in Heaven (all of which have been reviewed on this blog).
This is the second feature film by Meni Yaish. His first film, God’s Neighbors (previously reviewed on this blog) is about a group of neighborhood thugs who establish themselves as the kosher squad, enjoying the power that they hold over their neighbors in the supposedly religious realm.
This film, Our Father, is compelling and extremely well-made. However, you can’t hide the fact that it’s a gangster movie, with plenty of beatings, cussing and more than the necessary number of low-lifes.