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More Than One Kind of Blindness
Someone else had this on hold, so I was not able to renew the DVD. I assume that they thought it was the George Clooney/Jennifer Lopez flick, which I have not yet seen. Certainly it seemed unlikely to me that more than one person in a month would have a reason to put an Israeli semi-thriller about a blind mathematician on hold. We know that my reasons for doing it are out of the ordinary; I'd never even heard of this movie before finding it in the library catalog. It's actually on the list of Things That Have Struck Me As Odd while working on this project; there are hold lists, and often quite long ones, for the weirdest things. The hold list for [i]Northern Exposure[/i] season one was so long that I've only just gotten it this week, along with my first movie starting with "P." There are hold lists for every season of [i]Murder, She Wrote[/i], and I still haven't finished getting through that series.
Ya'ara (Tali Sharon) is a young PhD student at Princeton. She must fly home to Israel, because her cousin, Talia (Hadas Yaron in flashback, where Ya'ara is Avigail Harari), has committed suicide. No one is quite sure why. For a stretch of their childhoods, Ya'ara and Talia were best friends, and Ya'ara lived with Talia and her parents, Rephael (Assi Dayan) and Hana (Sandra Sade). This, among other things, makes Ya'ara determined to find out what drove Talia to kill herself. It turns out Talia was pregnant, and not by her boyfriend, Gidi (Guy Loel), who had already been dumped by Talia before her death. Through a series of flashbacks and nosy questions, Ya'ara gets closer and closer to what caused Talia's final act. The truth, all of it, is darker and more painful that Ya'ara could have realized, even knowing that it is, after all, what drove a seemingly happy young woman with a seemingly comfortable life to kill herself. This secret, after all, is also about Ya'ara.
It becomes obvious relatively early in the story that the relationship between Ya'ara and Talia was not completely what Ya'ara thought it was. In fact, there is one moment that becomes rather a symbol of what is to come. It annoyed me at the time that we do not see if Talia was telling the truth or not; as the movie progresses, we learn that she was lying to her cousin about quite a lot. Some of it was probably to protect Ya'ara; some of it was to protect herself. Most of it, however, was because she was hurting herself, and she wanted to hurt someone else in turn. She betrayed her cousin about as badly as you can betray someone, and I think an action she took just a few months before she died was in part an attempt to atone for that. However, we never know, because we basically never get to see inside Talia. We see Ya'ara's memories, and she convinces Gidi to read to her from Talia's childhood diary. However, Talia only exists in others' minds, not really in her own voice.
Ya'ara mostly manages to absolve herself of blame, at least outwardly, because she is blind and could not have been expected to see what was going on. However, she still feels that she should have noticed, and she knows that she will never entirely forgive herself for it. If she is not guilty because of her literal blindness, however, how much more must the others bear the blame? They were not blind. What was their excuse for not seeing? Things with Talia were terribly, terribly wrong, and no one knew. She managed to hide it from everyone. She lied, in many cases horribly, to Ya'ara. There was one moment when Ya'ara's father, Oria (Yisrael Poliakov), could only have chosen not to see, not that Talia ever knew that herself. However, Oria does, and when Ya'ara discovers the past and reveals it to her father, Oria knows what he did and what the consequences were. He must learn to live with that himself, just as Ya'ara must learn to live with what she could not sense.
This is not quite a thriller. It is not quite a detective story. It is the story of a past as it was remembered and as it actually was. The two are seldom the same for anyone, but it's painful to see how much different they are in this case. It's an odd film, and I don't think it's for everyone. This is leaving aside the obvious "some people won't read subtitles" thing. It is, after all, in Hebrew. One assumes that Ya'ara, at least, must know English--Princeton would be even harder if she didn't, even though mathematics is its own language. However, this is an Israeli film for Israeli audiences, and there's no reason for her to speak more than the few words of English she does, most of which are things like "okay" or else words where the Hebrew is probably closer to the English, because the concept ("telephone," "automobile") didn't exist the first time Hebrew was a living language. More to the point, though, it is a painful story that probably hits too close to home for far too many people. I thought it was good, but I'm not sure I'd say I enjoyed it.
Heavy subject matter. A very emotionally dense Israeli tragedy with a touch of hope at the very end.
The story is simple but magnificet..one of the best movies i've seen in a looong long time...and it's digital!!!
me gusto mucho!!!!!! esta genial me gusto la fotografia y en si toda la pelicula :D
Great movie. Daniel Syrkin is a brilliant director. Smart, Harsh yet fun and interesting movieto watch.