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‘America’: Karlovy Vary Review | Reviews

‘America’: Karlovy Vary Review |  Reviews


Director / scr: Ofir Raul Grazier. Israel / Germany / Czech Republic. 2022. 127 minutes.

A swimming instructor emerges from his emotional depth in Ofir Raul Graizer’s influential, romantic romantic drama Americathe author-director’s very accessible follow-up to his internationally successful debut Kakemakeren (2017). Premiere in the same Karlovy Vary Crystal Globe competition as its predecessor, this is the kind of conventional, well-crafted work that usually relates more directly to the audience than with juries or critics. With proper handling, this vibrant majority-Israeli production – which goes smoothly in the skirts of heavy political or religious themes – can well paralyze an inevitably busy festival circuit that ends up in profitable theatrical release in several territories.

Calls the image America carries the film with a portentousness that fits incongruously with the work’s engaging ingenious, straightforward air.

Divided into four discrete chapters that take place sequentially at intervals of several months, the script – with just a few adjustments – can provide the basis for a juicy Pedro Almodovar melodrama. After traveling home to Tel Aviv to handle the cases of his estranged, recently deceased father, Chicago-based thirties Eli Cross (Michael Moshonov) quickly makes contact with his best friend from childhood and adolescence, Yotam (Oshrat Ingedashet with top beak) .

Yotam is happily engaged to florist Iris (Ofri Biterman), but their plans are reversed when Yotam, during a swim to one of their old haunts, suffers a serious head injury that eventually puts him in a persistent vegetative state. Initially furious at Eli, whom she blames for the disaster, Iris gradually softens her attitude and the couple ends up being romantically linked. But just when it seems that the couple can move on into a common future together, Yotam shows signs of a surprising improvement …

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This is a well-worn setup in both cinema and literature, a variant of the well-known premise where a soldier is mistakenly assumed or reported dead and his fiancé at home seeks solace on the shoulder of his best friend. But Graizer and company manage to breathe fresh life into the material, concentrating entirely on the central trio – after Yotam’s disability, shifting the main focus from Eli to Iris – etching rounded, empathetic characterizations for each that include complex, often traumatic backstories. .

And although heartbreaking sentiments are not entirely cut off – Dominique Charpentier’s score, mostly an affair of piano and strings, is quite freely placed to emphasize the mood of any significant development in a completely conventional style – it is handled with sufficient tempo and sensitivity to increase rather than cheapening the general impact of history.

This is the rare example of a romantic triangle where real, deep affection flows in all directions between the three participants; in a departure from KakemakerenThe LGBT theme, the connection between Eli and Yotam seems to be probably platonic / bromantic by nature. But it is impossible to be completely sure, as Graizer commendably chooses to avoid specifying every detail.

His only real mistake comes in the last and shortest chapter, where the events take a tragic turn in the middle of some sloppy unconvincing details. His choice of title is also questionable: Eli has created a new life in Chicago, but the United States itself plays little literal or metaphorical role in the process. Calls the image Americaespecially in the current climate, the company carries with it a portentousness that does not match the work’s engaging ingenious, straightforward air.

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Production Company: Laila Films

International sales: Beta Cinema, [email protected]

Manufacturer: Itai Tamir

Cinematography: Omri Aloni

Production design: Daniel Kossow, Nizan Zifrut

Editing: Michal Oppenheim, Ofir Raul Graizer

Music: Dominique Charpentier

Starring: Michael Moshonov, Ofri Biterman, Oshrat Ingedashet, Irit Sheleg, Moni Moshonov

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