Walk On Water

If not quite as successful as YOSSI & JAGGER (2001), which used a romance between two closeted gay soldiers to expose Israeli army life, director Eytan Fox's fourth feature is far more ambitious and intriguingly complex. A month after Mossad agent Eyal (LATE MARRIAGE's Lior Ashkenazi) returned from a successful mission to discover that his despondent wife...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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If not quite as successful as YOSSI & JAGGER (2001), which used a romance between two closeted gay soldiers to expose Israeli army life, director Eytan Fox's fourth feature is far more ambitious and intriguingly complex. A month after Mossad agent Eyal (LATE MARRIAGE's Lior Ashkenazi) returned from a successful mission to discover that his despondent wife (Nataly Szylman) had committed suicide, his aging boss, Menachem (Gidon Shemer), assigns his crack assassin to what sounds like a baby-sitting mission. He wants Eyal to pose as a guide to German tourist Axel Himmelman (Knut Berger), whose sister Pia (Carolina Peters), a kibbutznik living in Israel, is worried about the recent rash of suicide bombings. Menachem has his reasons: Axel and Pia's grandfather is notorious Nazi officer Alfred Himmelman, who escaped to South America after WWII. Two months ago, the Mossad lost track of Himmelman and Menachem hopes that by sticking close to the grandchildren, Eyal will learn the old man's whereabouts. When Eyal argues that no one cares about old Nazis anymore, Menachem assures him that he, for one, cares very much: "I want to get him before God does." Eyal meets Axel at the airport shortly after yet another suicide bomb rips through an Israeli city, and instead of a Hitler Youth finds a gentle, good-natured teacher devoted to helping Germany's recent immigrants. Axel's sister Pia, meanwhile, has dedicated herself to helping to build the nation of Israel and cut herself off from her family; she even refuses to return to Berlin for her father's 70th birthday. Eyal is attracted to the blond, blue-eyed Pia and likes Axel, though he has no patience for Axel's sympathy with the Palestinian struggle. Once he learns that Axel is not only gay but has hooked up with a Palestinian man, their relationship grows far more complicated. Eyal must confront not just his homophobia, but his conflicted attitude toward Israeli culture, deep-rooted antipathy towards Arabs and his relationship with the Holocaust. Fox takes on quite a bit here: He claims the movie was six years in the making, and it's obvious that much serious thought went into a film that also works as a pretty decent thriller. Fox falters a bit with the narrative, but offers a fascinating treatment of the issues facing the descendents of Jewish victims and their German persecutors, as well as one of the most chilling birthday parties ever filmed. (In Hebrew, English and German, with English subtitles.)

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  • Released: 2004
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: If not quite as successful as YOSSI & JAGGER (2001), which used a romance between two closeted gay soldiers to expose Israeli army life, director Eytan Fox's fourth feature is far more ambitious and intriguingly complex. A month after Mossad agent Eyal (LA… (more)

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