America

****

Reviewed by: Richard Mowe

America
"The performances are subtly realised by the three main stars." | Photo: Courtesy of KVIFF

How a chance life event can spiral to affect all those involved and have repercussions going down the years forms the pulsating core of Ofir Raul Graizier’s ambitious essay about guilt, sacrifice, redemption and the bonds of friendship.

Such heady themes are set across a tight time frame and locations spanning Israel and Chicago.

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The axis revolves around two childhood friends: Eli (Michael Moshonov) and Yotam (Ofri Biterman). The former has left Israel to become a swimming coach in the States when he is told that his abusive father has died. He hasn’t seen him in ten years and is called back by the lawyers to deal with the estate.

He travels reluctantly but looks forward to meeting up with Yotam, the friend from schooldays with whom he used to go swimming, and who is now about to be married to Iris (Oshrat Ingedashet), also estranged from her parents. With Yotam she runs a flower shop in Jaffa and is planning to wed and start a family.

Their worlds are turned upside down after the two friends make a trip to a favourite childhood watering hole, miles from anywhere. Yotam suffers a tragic accident and is literally carried towards help by Eli.

Yotam remains in a coma and meanwhile Eli and Iris seek solace in each other’s company before Eli decides to return to the States.

With hopes and dreams dashed including those of Yotam’s caring parents, the prognosis looks bleak, yet Grazier manages to nudge the narrative back on to a more optimistic note in which friendships and relationships emerge scathed but strengthened. Divided into chapters, the film never overstays its lengthy running time.

The performances are subtly realised by the three main stars, especially Oshrat Ingedashet as Iris, the woman torn between her own history and coping with the emotional strains of the friendship between the two young men.

Reviewed on: 05 Jul 2022
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America packshot
Eli works as a swimming coach in Chicago but news of his father’s death necessitates his return to his native Israel. His decision to contact a friend from his childhood sets in motion a series of events that have a lasting impact on everyone’s lives.

Director: Ofir Raul Graizer

Writer: Ofir Raul Graizer

Starring: Oshrat Ingadashet, Michael Moshonov, Ofri Biterman, Moni Moshonov, Irit Sheleg, Evelyn Kaplun, Ruba Blal, Lukas Henri Kropat, Seumas F. Sargent, Udi Razzin, Daniel Moreshset, Haim Cohen-Kagan, Josh Sagie, Ben Sela, Galy Reshef

Year: 2022

Runtime: 127 minutes

Country: Israel, Germany, Czech Republic

Festivals:

Karlovy 2022

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