Israelis & English

Watched a couple of movies last week.

(I)

I managed to drag a friend – who then dragged another mutual friend – to catch a movie at the 19th Israeli Film Festival. At my suggestion, we watched The Matchmaker directed by Avi Nesher.

First of all, I didn’t know that this is the 19th time that an Israeli Film Festival has been held in Singapore. The only reason I spotted this one was because I saw a big poster of it at a cinema one day. I wonder where else was it publicised. Secondly, it seems like there are many film festivals going on in town lately. There’s another one that’s on-going now – the Singapore International Film Festival. Don’t get me wrong; I love watching movies. These film fests screen quite a number of films, most of which come with promising synopses. But perhaps because of the limited budget and/or promotional impetus, these movies are only screened once or twice. So timing choices for viewers are limited.

The Matchmaker is a gem, although my companions did not seem as enthusiastic as me (partly because of seating – we were 3 rows away from the screen). The movie is a bit of a coming-of-age tale, set against the backdrop of a Mediterranean-esque seaside town of Haifa, with an array of characters and a variety of plotlines. I especially liked Maya Dagan’s performance as Clara, a woman whose elegant sophisticated exterior belies the fragility and broken sparrow beneath. The titular character, the Matchmaker, played by Adir Miller, is in love with Clara. Slightly scarred and a limp, he is a smooth talker with his clients and potential matches and takes on the role as mentor to his summer apprentice (through whose eyes we see the story unfold), seldom betraying his tortured past and his shadowed present.

(II)

He’s dapper. He’s got cutting-edge tech gadgets. And he works for MI7. This goofball version of James Bond doesn’t get any funnier with all the action sequences, espionage, British accents, superhuman physical comedy (the way Rowan Atkinson twitches his eyelids is baffling)  and a risky brush with the subject of Her Majesty herself.

For a roaring laughing good time, catch Johnny English Reborn.

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