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Maisa Abd Elhadi,
When Eyal finishes the week of mourning for his late son, his wife urges him to return to their routine but instead he gets high with a young neighbor and sets out to discover that there are still things in his life worth living for. Written by
Black Sheep FIlm Productions
Dealing with Death with Life Affirmation and Imagination
"A week and a Day" is Asaph Polonsky's first feature film and tries to combine drama with humour, levity and death. It does so successfully and warmed the crowd in Montreal where it received deserved praise. It deals with a tough subject, arguably the greatest loss, done slightly better and with more bitterness in 2001 with "In the Bedroom" and "Lantana". "Rabbit Hole" (2010) was also riveting, but "A week and a Day" (2016) is superior to more recent, yet good and critically acclaimed "The Broken Circle Breakdown" (2012) and very different than all the others and succeeds in a change of perspective and cinematic catharsis.
An only child has died from cancer and the parents sit Shiva when the neighbours come to express their wishes. The mother and father react differently in their grieving process and the neighours and their son come to be an important part of a difficult road back to the light.
Quirky and endearing, this tale, like its characters, matures from off beat to the right beat. The last 20 minutes are sublime and include an eulogy with effective editing. This eulogy as I would later learn asking a question to the director during the Q&A is a modified version of Polonsky's real father who wrote it for his sister and is very poignant and the center of the movie even if it comes very late. It is worth the wait and the voyage. As for the eccentric neighbour's son who knew the deceased and played together as youth and a little girl cancer patient who knew him in his dying days, their love for life and imagination make for two memorable scenes of air guitar playing and phantom operation
All the characters create the mosaic of life to be cherished instead of remaining miserable, malcontent and bitter. Even the mom who's dentist appointment is the saddest one has ever experienced finds joy and solace in herself and the arms of her husband who loves her and forgives himself.
Very poignant and effective film-making here. I wish the best to this young writer/director who should shoot his next feature in Canada's West Coast if all goes well.
Israel 2016| 98 min | Festival du Nouveau Cinema | Hebrew (English subtitles)
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