Entries tagged with “Eran Riklis”.

The first film that I viewed in 2018 in a pre-screening before the Israeli premiere was Shelter (original title ‘Mistor’). It is directed by , a director whose previous works The Syrian Bride and The Human Resources Manager I liked. Those were movies inspired by the Israeli reality, complex and emotional at the same time. The latest was based on a novel by A.B. Yeoshua. With Shelter Riklis tries a very different type of movie, a combination of psychological thriller and action movie, and the result was for me quite disappointing.


source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6249434/mediaviewer/rm3618842368

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6249434/mediaviewer/rm3618842368


Yet, I can understand what intended Riklis with this story (he also wrote the script). The encounter between the Israeli Mossad agent and the Lebanese collaborator that she has the mission to defend while recovering from a plastic surgery that aims to change her physiognomy creates the premises of the meeting of two women who are separated by almost everything in their personal biographies and yet have so much to share as personal traumas. Women fighting in the secret wars have no easy time, and there is very little literature or film that dealt with these topic if at all. There is no feminine version of John Le Carre and of his heroes if you want.


(video source unitedkingfilms)


While the intentions and premises are interesting, the execution lacks pace and the building of the relationship that is supposed to take place in the sheltering apartment in Germany is never credible on screen. I am not sure who is to blame for this, maybe more time should have been spent in the claustrophobic enclosure of the house and the inserts describing the menace closing on the two women could have been less or ignored at all. The two actresses ( and especially ) do a reasonable job, but the chemistry that would have made their relationship credible is missing. The final quarter of the film switches pace and turns the whole story into an action movie, but lacks credibility. Psychological thrillers and action spy movies are two very different genres and their mixing does not work.

The Hebrew name of the film is a little longer than the one chosen by the distributors for the English version. It reads ‘The Mission of the Human Resources Manager’ and actually the word used is ‘shlihut’ which has a wider significance – it means not only mission, but also the acts of performing an important duty, or of being a messenger for important news. The news in this case are about a death, but the film touches only marginally the reasons and the absurdity of that death, and deals more about how the people who remained in life cope with the disappearance and how this impacts their lives – including the one of the messenger.


source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1311075/


Based on a novel of AB Yehoshua the film tells the story of the aftermath of a terror attack, one of these crazy suicidal acts that took place during the second intifada about a decade ago. One of the victims of the attack is identified quite lately as a Romanian woman working a manual job in a bakery in the town. A beautiful woman whose face we know only from a photo and later from a short film made on a phone, whose body nobody came to claim or identify because she was one of the thousand of foreign workers who come to Israel and perform hard and low paid works nobody else wants to do in order to support their families back home. The duty to take the coffin with the body home to Romania, and try to compensate the family there  falls on the manager of the human resources (the absurdity of the terminology is so well exposed by this film), a man who has problems of his own – solidly acted by Mark Ivanir, an actor I did not notice until now – he works more for the TV and games industry in the US, here he gets an opportunity to make a serious role in an Israeli film, and does it fine.  What results is a trip in unknown territory for the Jerusalemite clerk and the journalist accompanying him (Guri Alfi, better known here as a stand-up comedian), a clash not only of two different cultures and but also of different approaches to life and death.


(video source potentialfilm)


The film is not bad, but it’s a missed opportunity. Made in 2010, a year when both the Romanian and Israeli films industry were riding high on waves of success, it could have brought together some of the best in the two schools of cinematography – the Israeli dramatic school of political cinema which after decades of avoiding the tough questions raised by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict succeeded in a few film that take a sharp and uncompromising look at the issues and the Romanian minimalist realism which looks back to the Communist era and the transition that followed, and also to the contemporary chaotic situation in Romania not only with anger, but also with humor and especially with human understanding. Amazingly, director Eran Riklis‘ style and place in the Israeli cinema fits rather well the Romanian cinema style. The problem lies in the folklorist approach taken in dealing with the Romanian reality. If the Israeli team would have taken a local director as consultant, they could have maybe avoided some of the stereotypes of the script. I should say that the Romanian actors do their best to fill in the holes of the story on this respect, but this is not always enough. Even so, it’s a pleasure to see great actors like Irina Petrescu (a Romanian legend) or Gila Almagor who can be considered as her Israeli counterpart on the same cast (although they never meet on screen). And more than all, this is the last and final role in the career of Rozina Cambos. Despite its flaws Riklis’ film has enough good parts to make for an interesting viewing.