Monday, June 8, 2020

Israel Film Center Festival Spotlight: Love Trilogy: Chained

I’m pleased to be covering the 8th Annual Israel Film Center Festival at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, which is running virtually June 7th-14th.

Love Trilogy: Chained
Directed by Yaron Shani
Available June 7 – June 14

Improper conduct by those in positions of authority is not a new subject, but it’s one that’s trending heavily at the moment, taking up an appropriately large space for the first time in a very important way. The #metoo movement has enabled those who were taken advantage of and bullied by executives and others who sought to exert their power to force people to do things they were uncomfortable with to have a voice, and Black Lives Matter has taken on an increased relevance following the brutal killing of yet another black man by a white police officer using excessive force. Looking at situations where what happened isn’t as clear cut can be a complicated and treacherous endeavor, but also a worthwhile one.

Rashi (Eran Naim) has been a police officer for sixteen years, and has come to expect most of what he sees on the job. A routine search he conducts on kids he believes are making trouble in the park is turned into something much bigger when one of their influential parents accuses him of sexual assault. Rashi finds himself in a compromised position, distanced from his wife Avigail (Stav Almagor) and her daughter Yasmin (Stav Patay) as he remains steadfast about his innocence and his refusal to even consider that he might have done anything wrong.

This film, the second in director Yaron Shani’s trilogy (of which this reviewer has seen only this film), premiered at last year’s Berlin International Film Festival. The timing of this digital screening comes as conversations about what police can and can’t do are extremely charged. This focus, however, is entirely on the officer, whose conduct we see fully and can judge before, much to his surprise, it is reported as something else. What’s most fascinating about this portrait is how it shows a man so unconcerned with what others think about him or would allege that he did that his attitude is almost enough for anyone to convict him.

While there are elements of this scenario which are universal, this is a distinctly Israeli film. The internal affairs agents who interrogate Rashi are direct and abrasive even before he gives them cause to do so, and his anger about even being questioned boils over into a defiant and deliberately uncooperative posture. Even if what he did was unacceptable, Rashi would never admit it, in part because of his culture and in part because of his masculinity. Naim, who in real life worked as a police detective for fifteen years, deservedly took home an Israeli Oscar for his genuine and affecting turn, anchoring a difficult and intensely thought-provoking film about falling into mindsets and an inability to be open to new perspectives.


1 comment:

Darshika said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.