This interesting study of Jewish-Palestinian relations from the Israeli cinema opens as Houri, a military governor in charge of a West Bank village, decides to take decisive action against some local terrorists. He puts the rotting corpse of a dead donkey in the middle of the hot town
square, hoping the stink will drive out hidden PLO members. Danon, a sympathetic Israeli doctor, takes the side of the Palestinians and deliberately disobeys Houri's orders by having the carcass removed. Kurtiz, a peculiar Arab hermit who lives in a cave outside the village, becomes friendly with
Danon and the two build a close relationship. Danon is entertained by the stories Kurtiz tells, but this friendship ultimately comes to a tragic end. When Kurtiz's adopted son, a member of the PLO, is killed the eccentric character takes Danon as a willing hostage. The captive will be freed,
Kurtiz insists, only when the Israelis pull out of the West Bank. Director Dotan deals with several of Israel's most critical issues in a wise, humanistic manner which avoids any hard-line political statement. The unusual camaraderie which builds between Danon and Kurtiz overcomes any differences
brought on by their respective backgrounds, quietly suggesting Israel's problems are not as unsolvable as some might insist. Another of the film's strong points are the marvelous stories Kurtiz spins. Part truth and part fable, these tales are deftly handled under Dotan's direction. Elements of
fantasy are incorporated into the narrative with a lyrical grace that greatly adds to the warmth generated by Kurtiz. Kurtiz, a Turkish actor, gives an endearing performance in his offbeat role. He brings much heart to the curious recluse, and develops a natural chemistry with Danon in their
scenes together. SMILE OF THE LAMB received the award as Best Picture in Israel's equivalent of the Academy Awards, while Kurtiz won an acting prize at the Berlin Film Festival.
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- Released: 1986
- Rating: NR
- Review: This interesting study of Jewish-Palestinian relations from the Israeli cinema opens as Houri, a military governor in charge of a West Bank village, decides to take decisive action against some local terrorists. He puts the rotting corpse of a dead donkey… (more)