Synonyms by Nadav Lapid recently won the FIPRESCI Award (International Federation of Film Critics) at 2019 Berlin Film Festival. The jury described the film as “a highly original work with a sharp wit and subtle political message.” But I disagree. I found it terribly disappointing, to the point of offensive.
The film tells the story of a young man who has left Israel and moved to Paris, where he tries to leave his life and his memories behind. In an attempt to change his identity entirely, he stops speaking Hebrew, and walks the streets of Paris repeating French vocabulary (hence the title of the film). The opening scene, which explains why he has no “papers”, or perhaps, no identity, provides us with plenty of male frontal nudity – but that’s not enough of a reason to go see a film!
There is very little story, no complexity, and disappointing relationships. There are some flashbacks to his military service, but when inappropriate music is played at a military funeral, even I was offended!
Nadav Lapid’s previous films are TheKindergarten Teacher and The Policeman, both of which have been reviewed on this website.