The story written by Erez Kav-El for ‘Good Morning Mr. Fidelman’ (translated in English by ‘Restoration’ at the request of the organizers of the Sundance festival) smarty gathers together in the micro-cosmos of the movie many pieces of the puzzle which is the Israeli society today. A society composed or religious people and of non-believers, of Jews coming from European and Middle-Eastern backgrounds, of tradition and modernity, of rich and poor, of locals and strangers. One of the key characters of the film is Anton, and many things remain unknown about his character. He comes from nowhere in the Southern part of Tel Aviv, the humble and vanishing neighborhood located in the shade of the high, modern and expending part of the young city and he will disappear to nowhere at the end of the film. We know little about his identity before and nothing about what will happen to him after, his past seems to be a dangerous mix of art and crime, he is the prototype of the stranger with no roots whose secrets are well hidden and whose identity gets meaning only when reflected into the souls of other. Yet during the film we shall see him earning a spiritual father, learning a new craft which is close to art, falling in love and risking with his presence to break the balance of the family and social fabric around.

(video source kviff)

Anton, the stranger becomes involved in two triangles. One may seem at first sight a traditional husband-wife-lover triangle, but the young woman is pregnant and the husband is the young and greedy finance tycoon-in-becoming who looks so much like many of the materialistic Israeli (and not only Israeli) young men today, so the conflict is not only romantic but also a social one. The second one is a father-son-spiritual son conflict, between the old Mr. Fidelman, his son and again the stranger – which actually reflects as in a mirror the relation between the father, son and partner of Fidelman, Malamud, who dies at the beginning of the story. The relation between father and son seems to be a preferred theme in recent Israeli movies, describing not only the tension between generations, between tradition and modernity, but also the one between the Israel that could have been the the country it became.


(video source pctv1)


Then we have Sasson Gabai. This wonderful actor is now beyond what can be described as stardom. He more than shines in every role he makes on screen, on stage or at TV – he lives and becomes his characters to the point that he makes them part of our lives. His Mr. Fidelman is a tough and grumpy old man whose whole universe is his antiques shop and his craftsmanship of restoring old furniture, and this universe risks to be lost when his partner dies and his son inherits the business and plans to sell it. His savior may be Anton, the stranger, who seems eager to learn the art and share with Fidelman the feelings refused by his son. Or maybe it is the old piano that may or may not be or become a piece of value which may ensure financial survival. However any of these saving acts would come at the expense of the gathering back of his broken family, and at the climax moment Fidelman will need to make the crucial decision.


script writer Erez Kav-El yesterday at the Herzlya Cinematheque


It is so refreshing for me to discover another Israeli director with a distinct voice, making of his only second big screen film such a mature, complex, and sensible piece of art. It is not a perfect one, and the rhythm of the story-telling will limit the satisfied audiences to the small art cinema theaters, but yet the hall was almost full last night at the screening at the Herzlya Cinematheque. If the saying goes true that maturity and fullness of a school of cinema is measured not in blockbusters but in the good average films, then ‘Boker Tov Adon Fidelman’ may be a good sign of maturity and fullness.