Thursday, June 24, 2021

Israel Film Center Festival Spotlight: Here We Are

Here We Are
Directed by Nir Bergman
Screening Information

Not every person faces the world with the same skillsets and abilities. There is an array of social prowess that ranges widely from those who thrive in public settings to those who retreat back within themselves when they are surrounded by even one unfamiliar face. There are different ways that people can cope with social anxiety, and in some cases, it may not be possible to do much other than to try to avoid such situations. Having someone who understands those cues and can help set a friend or loved one up for success can be critical, though they sometimes may overshadow the potential for growth or development that could be better fostered away from their watchful eye.

Aharon (Shai Avivi) is a father devoted exclusively to his autistic son Uri (Noam Imber). His careful routine and knowledge of what causes Uri stress has enabled them to craft a working dynamic, one that involves great effort on Aharon’s part but also satisfaction because he knows that Uri can function within it. When Uri’s mother arranges for him to move into a group home, Aharon is resistant, and even after he agrees to take him there, decides that he’s still the best person to be able to take care of his son and spirits him away on an adventure to an unknown destination that just involves the two of them continuing to stay together.

This film is just as much about who Uri is and how he goes through the world as it is about his father, who can’t see all the sacrifices he has made for his son as anything other than normal. Even when everyone else in his life tells him that he needs to let go and give Uri a chance to be on his own, he holds on to the instances that, in his mind, prove that he must be by his side at all times, and that only he knows what’s best for his son. It’s a powerful story of love and attachment, a relationship that has become far too dependent on both sides, with Aharon needing to be Uri’s guide and guardian in order to give his own life purpose and direction.

This film took home four Ophir Awards, Israel’s equivalent of the Oscars, including prizes for Avivi and Imber, who are the grounding constants that make this film very relatable. Its script includes humorous moments and rich supporting characters, and most of all, it succeeds in showcasing the delight Aharon gets from seeing how, whether through his preparation or not, Uri is adjusting to what life could be like without him. It’s a heartwarming film that is both entertaining and emphatic, conveying who its characters really are in a compelling and endearing way.


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