Yom Yom

In 1993, after ten years of self-imposed exile in France, director Amos Gitai returned home to Israel and began what came to be called "The City Trilogy," a remarkable group of feature-length fiction films set in three separate Israeli cities. This film, the second, is set in Gitai's hometown of Haifa, and it's simultaneously a portrait of city, a citizen...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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In 1993, after ten years of self-imposed exile in France, director Amos Gitai returned home to Israel and began what came to be called "The City Trilogy," a remarkable group of feature-length fiction films set in three separate Israeli cities. This film, the second, is set in Gitai's hometown of Haifa, and it's simultaneously a portrait of city, a citizen and a country, all stumbling into an uneasy middle age. Moshe (Moshe Ivgi) is a neurotic, forty-something hypochondriac, in many ways still a child. His constant worries about his health preclude meaningful relationships with anyone other than his mother, Hanna (Hanna Maron), the doctor (Anne Petit-Lagrange) they share and Moshe's equally self-absorbed best friend, Jules (Juliano Merr). Moshe's marriage to Didi (Dalit Kahan) has dwindled to nothing, but he refuses to grant her a separation even as he cheats on her with a much-younger woman, Grisha (Nataly Atiya). Jules, meanwhile, is an inveterate gambler and player with a way with the ladies: He's already had his way with Didi, and has since moved on to Grisha. The wonderfully drawn characters and their soap-opera entanglements are dryly amusing and well played. But the film's heart and soul is Moshe's father, Yussef (Yussef Abu Warda), an Israeli Arab married to an Israeli Jew; he's now agonizing over whether or not he should sell his parent's legacy — a valuable piece of waterfront property — to a Jewish developer. As news reports about Arab-Israeli negotiations over the return of the Golan Heights filter through the soundtrack, the significance of the transaction becomes clear. The film ends on a mournful note, yet there's something hopeful about its depiction of the deep love Yussef and Hanna share. It suggests that even as Arab-Israeli relations worsen with each passing day, a reconciliation of sorts may be already underway. (In Hebrew, with English subtitles.)

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  • Released: 1998
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: In 1993, after ten years of self-imposed exile in France, director Amos Gitai returned home to Israel and began what came to be called "The City Trilogy," a remarkable group of feature-length fiction films set in three separate Israeli cities. This film, t… (more)

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