Monday, 12 May 2014

Israeli movie time

I began the Krakow Days of Israel with a Hebrew movie night in a cosy shisha café ( in Kazimierz, the Krakow’s famous Jewish District. Lying Orient-style on a pile of comfy cushions with a warm pot of rooibos was a perfect way to switch to the Middle Eastern chillout vibe.  
The first film was Turn Left at the End of the World (סוף העולם שמאלה) – certainly worth recommending. No matter if you are searching for a vivid image of what aliyah is about or just two hours of laughter and emotion, I’m sure you’ll be satisfied. It tells a story of two Jewish families – one from Morocco and the other one from India – who choose to start a new life in the dream Eretz Israel. That is to say, in the middle of nowhere. The people who once considered themselves high-class, sophisticated and elegant now need to deal with a complete change of lifestyle: settling in the inhospitable desert, hard, low-paid job in a factory and… getting along with the neighbors. At first they treat each other with a certain dose of distance and superiority. But day after day, the wall of prejudices is crumbled  by common experiences. They are united by personal tragedies and successes, family problems and sport challenges, bonds of friendship and affection. The way it was shown in the movie took my heart completely: without exaggeration nor dramatic kitsch- just ordinary human life, with all its difficulties and wonders. Lovely, funny, moving.

The second movie, Café Tales, gave me somewhat mixed feelings. Café Braun, which splendor is long bygone, is under threat of being closed. A group of old friends  declares war on all the world’s injustices standing between them and their favorite local coffee shop. The plot itself seems to make quite a good movie material but to me it just wasn’t really convincing. All the characters were somewhat too obvious, crazy and lost: colorful but simply exaggerated. The same could be said about editing: sharp, chaotic transitions from one scene to another would just make the whole story unreal. However, there was one great thing about the Café Tales that caught my attention: the way it presented one peculiar feature of the Israeli personality. Although each of the characters was totally different, there was one thing that united them: each of them was firmly convinced about his righteousness. All these macho men and strong women who have gone through a lot shared one rule: fight for what you want. This motivating, but often troublesome motto seems to apply to quite a lot of Israelis. As my Hebrew girl friend  once shouted: “You gotta step out of this <what’s wrong, what’s right>! If you want somethin’, just get it!”

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