"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.


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Sentimental Comedy

From the trailer, you might think that Maktub, directed by Oded Raz, is a low-brow comedy about crime and violence.  But surprisingly, it is a sentimental story about good deeds and helping make people’s wishes come true!

Our two main characters are thugs who make a living collecting protection money from Jerusalem restaurants.  After surviving a life-transforming event, they decide to change their lives and do good deeds, helping grant people their wishes.  They set out to read the notes that people put into the Kotel (Western Wall), and then to figure out how to help them.  They put on a fancy bar mitzvah party for a single Russian Mom who can’t otherwise afford it.  They help a fellow put sparks back into his marriage.  And they help a woman who is having trouble getting pregnant. 

The film draws attention to so many issues in our contemporary world, including immigrants, cross-dressers, underworld criminals, chef restaurants, parental responsibility and lingering superstition. 

Our two main characters are not the sharpest knives in the drawer, but they are loyal friends, sentimental, and good-hearted.  As Sephardi stereotypes, they sprinkle their vocabulary with a lot of Arabic slang.  The title of the film, “maktub”, means "fate".  We can interpret it to mean that it was fate or destiny that the people who put prayers into the Kotel would be helped by these two guys!!

Maktub is entertaining, and the violence is over-the-top, making it mostly not realistic (which is certainly preferable!). I certainly enjoyed this film!

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