TEL AVIV ON FIRE (2019)

A film by  Sameh Zoabi

Cast:  Kais Nashif, Lubna Azabal, Yaniv Biton

Salam, 30, lives in Jerusalem. He is a Palestinian and an intern on the set of the hit Arabic series “Tel Aviv on Fire!” Every morning he crosses the same checkpoint to work in Ramallah. One day, Salam is arrested by an Israeli officer Assi, fan of the series, to try to get away, he claims to be the scriptwriter. Taken to its own trap, Salam will be imposed by Assi a new scenario. Obviously, nothing will happen as planned.

Salam (Kais Nashif) a Palestinian living in Israel, he’s working as a production intern on the TV series named Tel Aviv On Fire, set in 1967 on the verge of the Six-Day War, it is clear that he is here because his uncle is a producer of the series and tries to rekindle the relationship of an ex girlfriend. Salam is here on the set as a person who reviews the authenticity of the language spoken. When he goes back home, Officer Assi , fan of the series ask him if he is the screenwriter, and bang Assi read the latest script and demand that he writes the story as he sees fit. To top it all off the next day the original writer had enough and leaves the set. Salam’s uncle promote Salam to screenwriter. Ho! boy. Salam here has no inspiration and has writer’s block. but you will not believe that is going to happen.

The director here is being conscious and careful about the ongoing issues about the Israeli and the palestinian, and balances the humour and the narrative perfectly well. Here Palestinians and Israelis has to live together regardless of the past and it is not an easy thing to do. Salam here is in his neck but seems to try to get his head above water. He is trying to get his old flame back in the process. Making a series is a hard thing to do and is a lot of work. Nobody seems to be on the same page. Here Salma is trying to make everybody happy will he succeed at getting his old flame back and will he succeed in writing a successful ending. Well see the movie.

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MON BÉBÉ (2019)

A film by  Lisa Azuelos

Cast:  Sandrine Kiberlain, Thaïs Alessandrin, Victor Belmondo

English title : Sweetheart

Heloise is the mother of three children. Jade, her “youngest daughter”, has just turned eighteen and will soon be leaving the nest to continue his studies in Canada. Jade’s departure approaches, and in the stress that this represents, Heloise remembers their shared memories, those of a tender and fusional mother-daughter relationship, and anticipates this departure by playing the apprentice filmmakers with her IPhone, so she has memories to look back to when Jade is gone …

Nearly three years after “Dalida”, more than ten years after “LOL “, the director Lisa Azuelos returns with Mon Bébé going back to the family theme that she does so well especially the mother daughter relationship. It is filmed with ease and grace and I so love that. Extremely well writing, entertaining, well casting need I say more. Ok I will say more first Sandrine Kiberlain delivers the role beautifully well has great chemistry with Thaī Alessandrin who is a new comer I think and to top it all off Victor Belmondo the grandson of Jean-Paul Belmondo is in this film. A bit of a autobiographie in there somewhere like her film LOL. The director here admitted that she was faced with the departure of her own daughter who like in the film has decided to study in Canada. So she decided to write it finally but under a form of fiction. It is an emotional film but not too emotional with some moments of pure beauty. We know that the last child that is going to leave it is going to be difficult for the mother to let her go. It is hard for a mother to let go her child into to the world the mother wants always to protect her child don’t matter what. Azuelos avoid the clichés here and what a terrific film she directed. You will have a good time guaranteed.

LA NOCHE DE 12 ANÕS (2019)

A film by  Álvaro Brechner

Cast:  Antonio de la Torre, Chino Darín, Alfonso Tort

English title: A twelve year night

1973, Uruguay falls into dictatorship. Three political opponents are secretly imprisoned by the new military power. Thrown into small cells, they are forbidden to talk to each other and badly nourished with barely have the essential toiletry , three men whose limit is pushed to madness, three hostage where the punishment is to break them of their humanities. The film tells the 12 years of imprisonment lived by three the most famous figures of contemporary Uruguay.

Here are twelve men who are confined in a small cell and submit to the atrocities that are inhuman. Solitary confinement is the worse case scenario they said you can not go more than 30 days without talking with to someone or you will go crazy. A haunting story of 12 years of incarceration in the life of Jose Mujica (Antonio de la Torre) and his two camarade, Mauricio Rosencof (Chino Darín) and Eleuterio Fernández Huidobro (Alfonso Tort). In 1973, Uruguay in taken by a military dictatorship. Members of the guerilla known as Tupamaros are considered traitors to the country. They are caught and thrown in jail and persecuted. Some of them were kidnapped by the military to subject to inhuman condition and psychological torture. They are moved from time to time to different cells. But those three men are finding ways to even talk to each other sort of and to not submit to those atrocities. There was one funny scene in the toilet with a prisoner who wanted to take a shit but could not squat do to one arm was in cuff high by the pipe. You will laugh your ass off, how stupid are the military. Álvaro Brechner here made sure not to let up on the tension throughout the film. There are the occasional flashback that does not revealing to much which was a smart move here. Keep in mind that those men were incarcerated for twelve years of pure psychological torture. Those are men you will not see men like them now. Great film here not to be missed.

SYNONYMES (2019)

A film by  Nadav Lapid

Cast:  Tom Mercier, Quentin Dolmaire, Louise Chevillotte 

Yoav, a young Israeli, lands in Paris, hoping that France and the French language will save him from the madness of his country.

Here is a film when you will get out of the theater you will feel amazed, seduced, marked, impressed, shaken, moved or you are going to hate it period. Here is a man who is a soldier lands in Paris. He is running away from his country and the crazy things that is going on there. he want no part of it. Yoav wants to be French and learn French. The first scene when he walks in this empty apartment has this beautiful meaning. He gets undressed takes a shower when he is done he goes to get his clothes but his backpack and clothes are gone. he is freeing and looks for his clothes from room to room nothing. he gets down the stairs and want to go outside but hold off and goes back upstairs knocks on doors to see if someone will help him, but no one does. He goes back in the bathtub and passes out. when he gets naked he is going toward a new identity, taking the shower washes out what he lived in Israel. A young rich couple finds him in the bathtub and shelter him give him some clothes and food. Now Yoav is some ready to survive in Paris and to try to be a French citizen. Dressed (often in an orange coat) in the streets of Paris, he wanders through words, synonyms that he shouts. He tries to stop and rest but he is restless wanders between Caroline and Emile. The film here is full of energy and Nadav Lapid finds the right balance to give it some new energy because a story about an immigrant has been done before so many time, but this one I got to admit is a little weird at times like when A photographer and makes him do things that are strange. The film is full of energy and Yoav is trying to find an identity in his quest but is he going to find it? Yes, the film has a perfect ending.

LES SORCIÈRES DE SALEM (1957)

A film by  Raymond Rouleau

Cast:  Simone Signoret, Yves Montand, Jean Debucourt

English Title: The Crucible

Salem, 1692. Industrious farmer, John Proctor, has made love to 17-year-old Abigail, a young woman that he and his wife have taken in. Well his wife is frigid and john has needs. His wife finds out and tells Abigail to get out of her home. Abigail wows that she is going to get revenge. She accuses Elizabeth of witchcraft and manipulates younger girls to support her claims of seeing spirits. The town’s minister and politicians are now going to war against witchcraft and will clean Salem of it by hanging witches.

Here is a jewel of a film based on a true story . Signoret won the 1957 BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress and Mylène Demongeot was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Newcomer in the same year. In the 1957 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, the Best Actor Award was given to “all actors of Les Sorcières de Salem in collective, and especially to Yves Montand. Not too bad here for a film. Screenplay adapted by Jean-Paul Sartre from the 1953 play The Crucible, by Arthur Miller.

It is 1692 in Salem John Proctor is the only member in the town’s assembly who resists the attempts of the rich to gain more wealth on the expense of the poor farmers. John got caught by his wife who is sick (well back in those days that is what they called it but she was frigid) with the maid Abigail which in turn got fired and left the Proctors. Abigail wanted her revenge and when a group of women are accused of witchcraft seeing her opportunity Abigail manipulate Mary and other girls into whitcraft which they will accused a bunch of people of being witches and sorcerers. Outstanding performances by the actors here. Mylene Demongeot which at the time was a new to the scene of acting is seductive, maleficent, and sensual. Simone signoret is astonishing as well. It is a powerful film worth seeing.

SIBEL (2019)

A film by  Guillaume Giovanetti, Çagla Zencirci

Cast:  Damla Sönmez, Erkan Kolçak Köstendil, Emin Gürsoy 

Sibel, 25, lives with her father and sister in an isolated village in the Black Sea mountains of Turkey. Sibel is mute but communicates thanks to the ancestral whistling language of the region. Rejected by the other inhabitants, she hunts relentlessly a wolf who is in the forest. When suddenly a fugitive shows up . Injured, threatening and vulnerable, and for the first time he will look at Sibel differently.

Sibel is mute since she was five due to the yellow fever that she contracted but has a closer bond with her father who has seen no reason to remarry. Although you have the small minded women who are threatened by her beauty and thinks it is bad luck to talk to her . The women from the village reject Sibel because of her handicap but it does not stop there even her sister rejects her. The father treats her has her favourite which Sibel learned how to hunt. Rumours about a wolf roaming in the forest so Sibel thinks if she kills the wolf the women in the village will respect her. When one day a fugitive makes an appearance near her cabin in the woods. It is going to change her world. Here is a strong and beautiful performance by Sönmez as Sibel which you are going to believe that this woman has lived in the woods in the mountains. The film was shot with natural light and what a beautiful photography comes out of it. Terrific film here not to be missed.

THE TESTAMENT (2019)

A film by  Amichai Greenberg

Cast:  Ori Pfeffer, Rivka Gur, Hagit Dasberg

Yoel is an orthodox Jewish historian responsible for the preservation of Holocaust memorial sites. For years, he has been investigating a massacre that took place in the village of Lendsdorf in Austria, at the twilight of the Second World War. Hitherto patient and monastic, his research accelerates when he is assigned an ultimatum: for lack of tangible proof of the facts, the site will be concreted under a fortnight …

Yoel, a practicing Jew and historian, who must convince the leadership of his small town to stop development of land on which he believes there is a grave containing some 200 Jewish men, women, and children. It is the race against the clock, Yoel must find evidence and the truth but discovering secrets about his family has well. This mystery and historical drama moves along just fine. Ori Pfeffer plays yoel and gives a great performance to the role of this man who becomes obsessed in finding the truth. however the leadership of this small town wants to go on with their project as soon as possible. Finding secrets about his family is going to disturb him along the way. Of course there are some people who wants him to leave things along the past is the past. Here is an anti-hero who sees everything around him collapsing, but he follows his path silently in order to remain faithful to his professional and religious integrity not an easy thing to do when he discovered secrets in his own family. Do not miss this one.