Powered by WebAds

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Israel's newest Oscar nominee is not an apologist

For the fourth time in five years, an Israeli film has been nominated for Best Foreign Language film. And for the first time, it is not a film that apologizes for Israel's relations with either its Arab population or its neighbors.
The Israeli film "Footnote," up for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film this year, is Israel's fourth such nomination in the past five years, giving Israel more nominations during that period than any other country.

It's an indication to the renaissance of Israeli cinema, which has grown from a fledgling industry with poor cinematography and low box office sales to a darling of world film festivals. That's in spite — or perhaps because — of the country's troubled international reputation, due to its lengthy conflict with the Arab world.

The last three Israeli films that made it to the Oscar shortlist all mine the country's troubles with its Arab neighbors. "Beaufort," nominated in 2008, and "Waltz with Bashir," nominated a year after, both explored Israeli soldiers' experiences in Lebanon. "Ajami," the 2010 nominee, centers on Arab-Jewish tensions in a violence-ridden neighborhood near Tel Aviv.

This year's nomination went to an Israeli film featuring a more internal conflict — two professors of Talmud, a father and son, dueling for academic prestige and a coveted national prize.

"It's a badge of honor for Israel," said Moshe Edery, producer of "Footnote," at a news conference after the Oscar nomination. "It's Israel's best business card around the world, especially these days."
Here's the trailer. A summary follows.

Let's go to the videotape.

FOOTNOTE is the tale of a great rivalry between a father and son. Eliezer and Uriel Shkolnik are both eccentric professors, who have dedicated their lives to their work in Talmudic Studies. The father, Eliezer, is a stubborn purist who fears the establishment and has never been recognized for his work. While his son, Uriel, is an up-and-coming star in the field, who appears to feed on accolades, endlessly seeking recognition.

Then one day, the tables turn. When Eliezer learns that he is to be awarded the Israel Prize, the most valuable honor for scholarship in the country, his vanity and desperate need for validation are exposed. His son Uriel, meanwhile, is thrilled to see his father's achievements finally recognized but, in a darkly funny twist, is forced to choose between the advancement of his own career and his father's. Will he sabotage his father's glory?

FOOTNOTE is the story of insane academic competition, the dichotomy betweenadmiration and envy for a role model, and the very complicated relationship between a father and son.
I'd be happy if this film won... I think.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home