Israel Film Fest Reviews

Eran Riklis tells a complicated story in a simple way with Human Resources Manager, his part of this year’s Israel Film Festival. The acclaimed director of Lemon Tree and The Syrian Bride based his latest film on the novel of Abraham B. Jehoshua.

It’s the story of Yulia, an immigrant woman that worked at a bakery in Jerusalem. After Yulia’s death in a bombing, her body stays unclaimed in the morgue for several days until a journalist uncovers the case, writing a stirring article.

Accused of severe neglect and lack of humanity, the bakery sends their HR manager on a mission: escort the coffin back to her native Romania.

What initially begins as a series of tedious procedures, protocol and technicalities for the manager turns into a journey of accessing his own humanity, sorrow and empathy. This assignment gives back purpose to a man that lives a routinely empty life.

The adventurous voyage to a country with bureaucratic and infrastructural obstacles challenges the task of dignifying a human life, and the twist at the end is unexpected. The surprising turn of events reveals the quest to honour not only another person’s life and memory, but also the dilemma whether to maintain integrity and ethics.

Riklis brilliantly portrays the flaws and qualities of human nature. For fans of drama with some bits of humour, this is a must.

Human Resources Manager / May 22nd / 6:30 pm / Guzzo Megaplex Spheretech (3500, Côte-Vertu)

Eran Riklis will give a speech after the 3pm screening of film “Three Mothers” also playing at Corona Theater and later after the 8:30 pm screening of “Human Resources Manager”.

For more information, visit israelfilmfestival.ca or call 514-937-2332
Tickets are 14$ and free for Concordia University students with a valid ID.




The Intimate Grammar (Nir Bergman)

In his latest production based on David Grossman’s novel, Nir Bergman presents a we can all relate to: growing up.

Thirteen-year-old Aharon, facing the awkwardness of fitting into the adult world, develops his own unique slow-motion grammar. His little head flows with questions : “Will I be like that when I grow up?” “Will I stay like this way forever?”

He conjugates some English-learned verbs and creates new ones, “I am playing, I am jumping, I am Aharoning…” Between his fertile imagination creating fantasies about being Houdini, an exasperating mother, a dysfunctional family dynamic and an emerging school romance, Aharon finds himself trying to untangle and make sense of a reality he refuses to face.

Very sensitive, humane, abstract yet concrete, as viewers we are transported to the oddness of our young years and their expectations. Attempting to fit, to discover his place in the world while still enjoying the silliness allowed only in childhood, as viewers we definitely relate, if not to a situation, at least to the emotion connected to it.

The Intimate Grammar was winner of first prize at the Tokyo international film festival and first prize at the Jerusalem film festival. It proved to be a great success when at Concordia’s H-110, too as tickets were sold out days before the show.




Land of Genesis (Moshe Alpert)

Spectacular is a fitting word to describe Moshe Alpert’s 87-minute documentary Land of Genesis. Through the most unusual angles it captures the exuberance of Israel’s flora and fauna bursting forever the middle eastern camel stereotype. The sharpness of his lens translates in a delight for our eyes.

An incredible variety of wild life blooms according to its climatic zone (5 different in Israel) and respective seasons inspire awe. Pelicans, flamingos, vultures and cranes all lodge or reside in the hills and watery zones. Wolves to goats, foxes to leopards, snakes, insects, chameleons and owls are among the many fascinating creatures featured in the film.

In this documentary that feels nothing like a documentary, voiceover is kept to its minimum. One gets the sensation that the animals, suspecting they were being filmed gladly delivered a stunning performance.

The orchestrated bird choreography, the dazzling blue sky, immensity of the sea and the fields of bright red poppies confirms why the Bible names Israel “the land flowing with milk and honey.”

The film is a sure must for nature lovers and for those who wish to get a glimpse of Israel’s magnificent natural riches.

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