Remember some of the bourekas films of the 1970s and 80s? They were like eastern puff pastries – basically empty comedies created to poke fun at mizrachi men. This week, I had the chance to see a new comedy, Forgiveness (Mechillah מחילה), directed by Guy Amir and Hanan Savyon. This duo also wrote the script for the very successful sentimental comedy, Maktub. Similar to that film, the premise of this film was a good one. Unlike Maktub however, this film seemed to be empty and lacking in just the right amount of comedy and joie de vivre.
The story tales place on the background of bombs falling in the south of Israel and also during the ten days of atonement between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur when Jews are asking God and each other for forgiveness for their past deeds.
There are two lovable heroes: Shaul has just sat in jail for having carried out a robbery. He returns home to his wife and daughter, finding that things are awkward after three years. His not-so-swift buddy, Nissan, who got away with the cash, has become newly religious. But that hasn’t improved his analytical skills and now he can’t seem to find where he has buried the stash!
Here the Sephardi stereotypes are the basic gag line. The film also casts its not-so-funny eye on women, Bedouin, superstition, ultra-orthodox, and the whole idea of forgiveness.