Discovering the Israeli filmmaker whose ‘Synonyms’ won the Golden Bear at Berlinale

Posted on February 28, 2019

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Read the full article on Firstpost, here: https://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/discovering-the-israeli-filmmaker-whose-synonyms-won-the-golden-bear-at-berlinale-6164361.html//

Nadav Lapid announced himself on the world stage with Policeman (2011). This was his first feature, and the plot suggests a genre piece. Yaron (Yiftach Klein) is part of an anti-terrorism commando unit. There’s a cocky macho-ness about him. His wife is about to deliver their first child, but when he sees a pretty waitress, he puts his gun on the table and tells her: “Touch it.” But he doesn’t stray. He is, in fact, remarkably focused — a flawed but inherently “good” man. And when we hear that an operation by his team left some civilians wounded and dead, it appears that the film will follow one of the templates we are used to. Maybe Yaron will be disgraced, and subsequently redeem himself in the eyes of the family members of the dead. Or maybe it’s more psychological, about how Yaron spirals out of control.

But Policeman is more interested in the formal aspects. For the first forty-odd minutes, the narrative centres on Yaron: his colleagues, his wife, his mother. Then, we shift abruptly to a bunch of young (and privileged) Jewish radicals — and it’s a shock. Films usually work through cross-cutting. If there are two stories to be told — (1) the one about Yaron, and (2) the one about revolutionaries who take hostages and need to be tackled by Yaron’s team — then, typically, the radicals would be introduced early on, so we see their plans and plotting in parallel with the developments around Yaron. And the last stretch of the film (say, the last third or so) would be where these two narratives collide, with Yaron and his colleagues facing off against these youngsters.

Continued at the link above.

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