25 July 2015 | Red-125
Interesting film about leaving and returning
The German film Anderswo was shown in the U.S. with the title Anwhere Else (2014). It was co-written and directed by Ester Amrami.
The movie stars Neta Riskin as Noa, an Israeli woman who is studying in Berlin. She appears to be moving forward nicely in her academic and personal life. Noa's thesis is a video dictionary of people trying to translate "untranslatable" words.
This topic sounds like an oxymoron, but it isn't. The first example we see is of Noa interviewing a Portuguese man about the word "saudade." We have been to Portugal many times, and Portuguese fado music is important to us. Fado music is based on "saudade." When we ask Portuguese people to define "saudade," they say, "Well, it's sort of like longing, and sort of like sorrow, but not exactly." They usually follow that by saying, "To understand 'Saudade' you have to be Portuguese." So, a video of a Portuguese man trying to define "Saudade" makes sense to me.
However, the project doesn't make sense to Noa's thesis committee, and they send her back to work some more on it. Responding to this unexpected and bitter blow, Noa heads back to her home in Israel. Her German boyfriend, Jörg, follows her there.
During the rest of the film, Noa comes to grips with her earlier decision to leave Israel, her relationship with Jörg, and her relationship with her mother and grandmother. How these relationships play out is the theme of the movie. What happens is interesting and certainly not predictable.
I enjoyed this movie, and would recommend it. We saw it on the large screen at the JCC Hart Theatre in Rochester, NY, as part of the extraordinary Rochester International Jewish Film Festival. It will work equally well on a small screen.
Note: as I write this review the movie carries a dismal 6.6 IMDb rating. I can't understand why it has this poor rating. It's much better than that.