3 June 2012 | gradyharp
'If I thought there was an afterlife, I'd kill myself.'
FOR MY FATHER (Sof Shavua B'Tel Aviv) is a brilliant little film, a joint German/Israeli production that for once has the courage and wisdom to examine another vantage of a potential suicide bomber. Written by Ido Dror and Jonatan Dror and directed with great sensitivity by Dror Zahavi the story is a brave one, one that takes the viewer into the minds of those who live in Tel Aviv both as Israelis and as youths disillusioned by parental dominance and by the outsiders, or Palestinians.
The film opens with a trio of men driving across the border into Tel Aviv to transport one of them as a suicide bomber - the quietly reluctant and sensitive Tarek (Shredi Jabarin). When the bomb fails to explode, he's left stranded in Tel Aviv until he's able to fix the detonator. The fact that Tarek is unable to detonate the bomb and will fail his mission opens the possibility to get to know the young man behind the terrorist mask, an opportunity we have not been offered before. Tarek encounters a young 17-year-old girl Keren (Hili Yalon) who wears earrings and brightly colored hair and short skirts in defiance of her conservative family and is mocked and beaten by young Israeli men for being an outcast. Her only friend is an old disillusioned man Katz (Shlomo Vishinsky) who likewise owns a tacky street vendor booth across from Keren. Tarek encounters Keren, protects her form her assailants, and they develop a close bond - Keren's desire to go swimming with Tarek is rebuffed because Tarek is still carrying the defective suicide bomb device under his shirt. In this one brief weekend we see that both Tarek and Keren have virtues, flaws, and unexpected facets to their personalities. It is also important to note that they both face as much pressure and harassment from their own communities as they do from their counterparts on the other side of the political and cultural divide. And in keeping with the total honesty of the story the ending will surprise and stun the viewer.
The film is in Hebrew with English subtitles. The cinematography is excellent and the acting by the three principals as well as by the supporting cast is outstanding. This is a very important film, well deserving of all the honors it has received since it was first released in 2008.