- Director: Nadav Lapid
- Writer: Nadav Lapid; Haim Lapid
- Producer: Saïd Ben Saïd; Michel Merkt
Winner of Berlinale's Golden Bear...seriously, did they watch the same film!?!
Well, we can think of quite a few 'synonymes' to describe this utter mess/shambles/mishmash/ of a self-indulgent/cacophonous/thread-bare/pretentious film. Where to start...
...with the story, of course...wait a minute...what story? It all centres around Yoav, a young man who likes to show off his manly tackle and [oooh your poor ears] hasn't mastered the art of speaking at a normal [and acceptable] level...in other words, he shouts...throughout the entire film!
Yoav has 'escaped' his native [and despised] Israel...decanting to Paris. Within a matter of minutes, he ends up in a stunning [but bare] apartment, being robbed [while showering] of his entire possessions...leaving him, in the cold heart of Winter...bare-butt-dick-dangling-naked!
Then...everything goes all Jules et Jim [sans la magnificence de Truffaut]...a young, wealthy couple rescue him from a hypothermic bath-tub...warm him, clothe him, feed him and hand over [without the blink of a smitten eye] a wad of cash. As if!
Admittedly...it all sounds rather interesting and there are certainly some eye-pleasing moments...but, that's just the first 15 minutes...the remaining 105 minutes are a fanatical assault to the senses [and to Israel]! Now, this all might be [a bit] semi-autobiographical and Nadav Lapid just wanted to get a load off of his chest...well, he certainly did that...and, forgot about the audience [there were quite a few walk-outs at the press screening]...it's all about communication m'dear!
There are better ways to rant and rave...rather than [actually] ranting and raving for nearly 2 exhausting, ear-splitting hours. Synonyms is a scathing critique on [a very pervasive] Israel...perhaps that was the point. Why be subtle...when you can just throw it out there - unrelentlessly - at the top of your [screeching] voice, taking no prisoners whatsoever!
Indeed...food for thought!
In Paris, things do not exactly get off to a good start for Yoav. He knocks on the door of a flat, only to discover the place is empty and, while he is taking a bath there, his things are stolen. Yet this young Israeli had arrived with such great expectations. He is determined to get rid of his nationality as quickly as possible. For him, being Israeli is like a tumour that has to be surgically removed. Becoming French, on the other hand, would quite simply mean his salvation. In order to erase his origins, Yoav first tries to replace his language. From now on, he will not utter a single word of Hebrew. The dictionary becomes his constant companion. The necessary visits to the Israeli embassy annoy him; he finds his compatriots to be a total burden. But the naturalisation test also has its pitfalls. And the young French couple whom he befriends has some rather strange ideas about how to help him.
Based on his own experiences, Nadav Lapid explores the challenges of putting down roots in a new place. His attempt to find himself awakens past demons and opens up an existential abyss. A tragicomic puzzle that wisely knows how to keep its secrets.