5 February 2012 | Nozz
A fine story, but the actors don't shine
It helps to understand the Hebrew title, which refers to an Israeli children's song (and has nothing to do with the song "As Tears Go By," although that's the title adopted for English). In the song, a little boy tries to give his all in order to win a girl's heart, only to see her go play with another boy instead. He doesn't cry, he says, but the tears fall by themselves. The song doesn't appear in the movie, but it doesn't have to; it's well enough known, and everyone will easily associate it with the protagonist Yitzhak, who does have a tendency to shed tears whenever he's under pressure. Instead, the movie opens with a scene in which an audience sings a different Israeli song, one about a boy who surprises and disappoints a woman by growing up to become his own man. Echoes of that song persist throughout the soundtrack, and the characters and situations from both songs seem to recur kaleidoscopically throughout the movie. As time passes, the characters' lives take turns that appear as surprises because their driving forces were ignored or repressed. A little boy who understands only that something is being repressed by the adults, but not what it is, sets off part of a wide-ranging resolution in which careers and personal relationships are sorted out and some illusions are put to rest. It's a fine story, complex but not hard to follow. However, whether because the movie wanted to illustrate a particular psychological state or because the actor can do no better, the main character's behavior is rather wooden most of the time. None of the actors particularly shines, but the movie does have the distinction of being the only one to feature the very talented singer Meital Trabelsi, and one of the song she sings-- the one about the boy who grows up-- has music by the remarkable Israeli composer Sasha Argov.