Autumn 2004 Main series
Sunday, October 17, 2004 at 4:00pm
Sunday, October 17, 2004 at 7:00pm
Monday, October 18, 2004 at 7:00pm
Empire Theatres, New Minas, NS
Rated NR ·
Broken Wings, an Official Selection at the 2003 Toronto International Film Festival, was a major hit in its home country of Israel, winning nine prizes at the Israeli Academy Awards. An astonishing debut feature for Nir Bergman, who also wrote the screenplay, the film explores the turbulent life of one family in modern day Israel. When one force in the family’s delicate balance is suddenly and unexpectedly removed, the other elements go spinning off in strange, sometimes agonizing, even absurd directions.
The story begins with Dafna (Orli Zilverschatz-Banay) grieving the loss of her husband while trying to cope with raising four children and making ends meet. Her ability to support her family emotionally is in question: she works erratic hours as a hospital midwife and is unable to let go of her grief nine months after the event. Each of her children displays varying symptoms of bereavement: one is terrified of going to school and being cut adrift in that foreign environment; another seems bent on jumping into an empty swimming pool; a third has quit school to take up an uninspiring, dead-end job handing out flyers in a mouse costume. Seventeen-year-old Maya (Maya Maron), around whom much of the film is centred, exhibits her grief in perhaps the most complex way, driven by a sense of guilt into precipitate maturity and a role of responsibility in the family. Her story is all the more touching as these duties conflict with her youthful ambitions to become a singer and songwriter.
Bergman weaves the family members’ precarious internal states with the pressures of external events that seem to conspire against them with a keen eye for detail: cars refusing to start, problems with relationships with the outside world. Assembling subtle observations of daily life, he works towards the film’s revelatory conclusion – at which point we step back from his canvas and appreciate anew the precision with which he has placed his brush strokes. His eye for family dynamics is extraordinarily keen and the film has the tone and evocativeness of selfpossessed autobiography. It concentrates on more private, everyday experiences than the political turmoil we frequently see in the cinema of Israel and the performances – especially from Zilverschatz-Banay and Maron – are natural and authentic. Bergman’s talent for portraiture marks him as a director to be watched as he deftly sidesteps the sentimental in his moving, intimate drama about an ordinary Israeli family dealing with the abrupt loss of a deeply loved husband and father.