The Jewish Eye
A Film by Nir Bergman
Sony Pictures Classics, 2004
Widescreen - On 1 DVD
Reviewed by Auggie Moore - February 8, 2010
Whether you are simply looking for a compelling drama to watch, or looking for a means of brushing up on your Hebrew skills, Broken Wings is sure to fit the bill! This award winning Israeli movie was directed and written by Nir Bergman and stars Orly Zilbershatz-Banai, Maya Maron, Daniel Magon, and Nitai Gvirtz. The movie is all in Hebrew, with English subtitles that can be turned on or off. As well, all the DVD menu controls are in English. The movie runs about 84 minutes, is rated 'R', and is in widescreen format. Broken Wings is a movie with universal appeal that ably transcends both language and political boundaries.
The story revolves around the Ulman family, which is, to say the least, falling apart. The family lives in Haifa. The father died a short time ago and Dafna (Orly Zilbershatz-Banai), the mother, is a midwife at the local hospital. She is finding it nearly impossible to juggle the demands of her job while also caring for her four children. Consequently, her oldest daughter, seventeen-year-old Maya (Maya Maron), is having to step in to the fill the gap. Maya is a teenager whose sole goal is to win a band contest and to make a name for herself as a songwriter. While she does the best she can for her siblings, she understandingly resents the extra burden that her father's death is forcing her to carry.
The other three Ulman children include the oldest son, Yair (Nitai Gaviratz), who is apathetic and is the epitome of teenage angst. To complicate the situation, he has left school to spend his time handing out flyers while dressed as a mouse. There is eleven-year-old Ido (Daniel Magon), who is bullied at school and is engaging in destructive behaviors, and likes to film himself jumping from great heights. The youngest child, six-year-old Bahr (Eliana Magon), is showing her anger by wetting the bed and simply wants her mother to come home and be a mom. All five members of the family are still dealing with grief and anger associated with the father's death, and the children blame their mother for not being there when they most need her - but if she doesn't work, they won't have the money to eat or pay the rent!
This is a deeply moving, realistic, slice-of-life drama. Despite the topic, it is not an overly depressing movie, although it is sad at times. Rather it is more touching than anything else, and it is a story that will resonate with anyone who has ever suffered from the lost of a family member or close friend. The characters are dynamic, and the story line takes you into the characters lives and allows you to see the world through their eyes. The family's grief is palatable throughout the movie, although it takes some time to realized that it is a result of the father's death, as it is seldom mentioned directly. I don't want to give anything away, so I'll just say that at the heart of the story is an 'event' that pulls this disintegrating family back together, allowing them to come to terms with their grief, and the new situation that they find themselves in. From beginning to end, this is a very memorable movie.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, Broken Wings is an award winning movie, some of the accolades that this movie has received include:
- Winner of 9 Israeli Film Academy Awards, including Best picture, Best director, Best actress, and Best screen play.
- Official selection of the 2003 Toronto International Film Festival
- Winner of the Audience Award at the 2003 Berlin International Film Festival
- Winner: Best Film, 2003 Jerusalem International Film Festival
- Winner: Best Film, 2003 Tokyo International Film Festival
- Winner: John Schlesinger Award for Debut Feature Film, 2003 Palm Springs International Film Festival
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