Sunday, August 09, 2009

Shiva (7 Days)

When one of the Ohaion brothers dies, the all family gets together for the Shiv’a at the widow’s house, as tradition demands. What ensues is the portrait of all the tensions and problems that exist in the family, forced to spend time together in a confined space. Apart from the sorrow about Maurice’s death, very soon the reality starts to take its toll. The brothers are going through serious money problems regarding a business they all have together. Accusations come from all directions as we learn everyone has complaints and, of course, a very personal view of family relations.

Through the time we spend with the Ohaion, there is opportunity to experience love, jealousy, greed, tenderness, envy, mourning, and even, at moments, there’s a chance to laugh. A regular family, as it turns.

This French and Israeli production was written and directed by siblings Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz, and is the second installment of a trilogy. Unfortunately I have not watched the first movie - Ve'Lakhta Lehe Isha, aka To Take a Wife (2004), but I will certainly try to find it.

Ronit Elkabetz also plays Viviane, one of the main characters in the movie (as in the previous one) and does an amazing job at it. The very good performances and a well constructed script give us some intense moments, especially in those occasions when two or three characters are able to “escape” to reclusive areas of the house. There are some secrets going around.

The 1991 Gulf War background adds to the dramatic aspect of the movie but, if you have a weird sense of humor like I do, also brings some amusing moments.

When I finished watching the movie I kept thinking that I would have liked to see more of some characters and to understand better some of the family dynamics. But now that I know it is a trilogy, I expect that either on the previous one or in the following movie I will find my answers. So not only I recommend this one as also To Take a Wife, and I would expect that if you can watch them in the proper chronological order, that may also help. I would not usually recommend a movie I have not seen yet, but given how much I enjoyed this one and that both were nominated and received several awards and were basically created by the same team (direction, script, actors…), I think I can safely open an exception to that rule.

Green light.

Watch trailer @ Movie On Companion

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