Feb 8, 2008


Devarim is the first film I have viewed from Israel. It takes a realist aesthetic to provide a very intimate look into the lives of three Israeli’s and their hang-ups entering middle age. Devarim is sort of like Federico Fellini’s I Vitelloni except more centered around desperation and less flamboyant. Director Amos Gitai seems to have also taken cues from the Italian neorealists, French New Wave, and even German New Wave.

The shot composition of the film is very standard(reminding me of Fassbinder) and used to focus the scenes on the intense(yet for the most part monotone) drama between characters. Many shots featuring no dialogue and a character simply walking down the street in a lonely way. Most conversations in Devarim are quite dark as suicide and the inevitability of death are discussed quite often. It is interesting seeing personal drama Tel Aviv while knowing that the IDF is trying to hunt down "militants" in the same city. These topics are only briefly discussed.

Devarim is not going to appeal to most audiences as it is up to the viewer to derive meaning from the film. Although intellectually stimulating, the film is quite dark and depressing. The older the character in the film, the more they have realized the torment of life and it’s unpredictable tragedies. Suicide becomes the only way to beat death at it’s own game as one character in Devarim brings up. An older women in the film brings up her lifelong belief in atheism and she is obviously unhappy. Does it hurt one to believe in something false and die happy?

Director Amos Gitai might have promise as a director as he develops his niche with each subsequent film he creates(of course I would have to see his others). I can respect any director that can turn nothing into something. Paul Morrissey, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Giuseppe Andrews, and Pier Paolo Pasolini are some directors I truly respect for that reason. Exploding heads become old very quickly.

-Ty E

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