Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Israel Film Fest: Tubianski

After the War of Independence, people were a bit on edge in Israel. An IDF officer by the name of Meir Tobianski (spelled with an "o" on Wikipedia, but a "u" here) worked at a British-owned power station (lots of people pulled double-duty back then, serving both in a civilian and a military capacity) fulfilled a simple request from his (British) boss that would ultimately be construed as an act of treason.

This was the story behind the fourth (and sadly final) film of the IFF The Boy and I were able to get to. It's played out very simply and low-key, virtually daring you to get sentimental over it, but the nature of the story (and the quality of acting) is such that you can't help but be moved.

The Boy and I both liked it, but I pointed out that I'd have liked to see Hitchcock do the same story: This is sort of The Wrong Man meets Rear Window, with a couple of guys chasing across the countryside trying to save Tobianski, while the zealous and ambitious Intelligence officer pressures three other officers to convict him in a Drumhead court martial.

Then there's the whole young wife-trying-to-clear-her-husband's-name angle, the son, the mistrust of the British, and so on.

So it could've been great. As it stands, it's almost a "dramatic re-enactment" more than anything. I'm not surprised the director's most recent work is a documentary.

One nice touch is Tobiansky's wife waiting for him in a theater where The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is playing. It probably literally happened that way, but the contrast of whimsy-induced paranoia against actual paranoia is poetic.

All brought in comfortably under an hour-and-a-half.

So our IFF went four-for-four this year, and we didn't even get to the most hyped movie of the season, The Dove Flyer, about the eradication of the Jews from Iraq.

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