Footnote – A movie review

April 21, 2012 by Henry Benjamin
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Israel has produced many movies over the years but none that this reviewer has seen has attained the quality of Footnote, a 2011 film written and directed by Joseph Cedar which won the best screenplay award at Cannes and was nominated for an Academy Award this year losing out to the Iranian film “A Separation”…writes Henry Benjamin.

The film tells the story of a father and son who are both professors at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Professor Eliezer Shkolnik, an introvert philologist works in the same Talmudic Research department as his gregarious son Professor Uriel Shkolnik.

The film opens with father and son attending an academic function honoring Uriel. We are introduced to the morose introvert father who fails to carry an identifying wristband which creates an incident between Eliezer and security as he tries to regain admission after leaving the function to reflect on his lack of recognition. On the other hand, Uriel’s charming personality is well presented as he engages the academics at the meeting. Eliezer’s career-long ambition to win the coveted Israel Prize has not been realised and this has left him a bitter old man.

All this changes when he receives a phone call from the Ministry of Education advising him that after a professional lifetime of academic work the prize is his. But son Uriel also receives a phone call from the Israel Prize committee summoning him to an urgent meeting at which he learns that a grave mistake has been made. His father’s prize was not intended for Eliezer…but for him.

From here the film deals with how the son deals with the dilemma including a confrontation with the head of the Israel Prize committee…an ebullient professor who is his father’s nemesis.

As the date for the prize-giving approaches the film twists and turns as the script only gives its audience a chain of possibilities as to how the problem will be resolved and this reviewer is not going to give anything away other than to say that each person who sees this wonderful movie may well end up drawing their own conclusion.

Cedar has made a wonderful movie which takes Israeli film-making to new heights. The musical soundtrack fits perfectly and the editing and cinematography are world-class….befitting a film nominated for an Academy Award. Full marks to actors Shlomo Bar Aba [Eliezer], Lior Ashkenazi [Uriel] and Eliezer’s enemy Micah Lewesohn [Professor Grossman]. Don’t miss it.

Footnote is showing at

SYDNEY

Randwick Ritz

Cremorne Orpheum

Dendy Opera Quays

Avoca Beach

 

CANBERRA

Greater Union Manuka Cinema

 

MELBOURNE

Cinema Nova

Classic Cinema Elsternwick

 

ADELAIDE

Track Cinema

 

BRISBANE

Eldorado Cinema

 

HOBART

State Cinema

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