Israeli ‘Footnote’ gets headlines
With insightful movies like Campfire (2004) and Beaufort (2007), we’ve known for a while that Joseph Cedar is one of our best filmmakers. Nobody’s managed to delve into the psyche of the Israeli experience like the 42-year-old modern Orthodox writer/director.
It was unclear how Cedar was going to top the harrowing Lebanon War film Beaufort, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film. But his winning streak has continued with his latest film Footnote, a thoughtful comedy which just premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.
Not only did the critics love it – Entertainment Weekly called it “funny and smart” and said that “Cedar pulls off a feat of intellectual and cinematic elegance ”- but Sony Pictures Classics acquired the North American rights to the black comedy about a rivalry between father and son academics.
The movie focuses on the rivalry in the Shkolnick family between Eliezer (Shlomo Bar Aba) has devoted his entire life to a stubbornly precise, methodical, microscopic study of the subject, and his son Uriel (Lior Ashkenazi). According to EW, even if you have no knowledge about Talmudic studies, the Old Testament-sized father-son tensions are relatable in any culture.
Eliezer and Uriel, each created with marvelous specificity, are the most interesting, flawed, realistic characters I’ve seen in ages…The whole movie is, in its way, a Talmudic lesson. There’s real philosophical depth and clarity to the script. Plus, it’s funny and smart, it’s told with wild, inventive cinematic flourishes and experimental grace notes, and Bar Aba and Ashkenazi deserve awards on their own shelves for their performances.
They end the review with something Israelis have known for a while, referring to Cedar. “He’s the real deal.”
Look’s like we’ll be seeing you at Oscar time.