Sunday, May 22, 2011

Israel Film Festival Spotlight: Brothers

The 25th Annual Israel Film Festival took place May 5th-19th. I had the pleasure of screening two films from the festival, Intimate Grammar and Brothers.

Directed by Igaal Nidaam

This film is a very explicit, surface portrait of the disconnect sometimes found between Orthodox Judaism and the Jewish State, positioning two brothers in opposite worlds, one a secular farmer and the other a Haredi lawyer in Israel to defend yeshiva students who demand to be exempted from mandatory army service. The themes are maddeningly interesting, as are the various twist and turns of the case that flesh out the complications on both sides of this particular long-running conflict. The film itself isn’t nearly as capable, featuring wooden performances and rather clumsy dialogue, especially when it comes to the conversations between the yeshiva students, as well as some less believable plot twists towards the end of the film. Much of it feels staged, and it hampers an otherwise moving and important meditation on religion and its often temperamental incorporation into secular society.

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