Dafna is a midwife, overworked and underpaid, who lost her husband nine months ago andis only barely functional. She dumps most of the familial responsibilities on her eldest daughter,Maya, and doesn’t notice the price that Maya is paying in having to give up her hopes andaspirations. Eldest son Yair has reacted to the death of his father by adopting a despairingphilosophy and dropping out of school. Younger brother Ido is tormented by bullies and wetshis bed. And youngest …aughter Bahr is feels abandoned by her mother. Things are bad enough,but then Maya forgets to pick Bahr up from school one afternoon, which sets in motion a chainof events that lands Ido, badly injured, in hospital. The family’s ability to survive now faces itsstrongest challenge yet.
As this synopsis suggests, the storyline is pretty grim. This isn’t one damned thing afteranother; this is every damned thing at once. The naturalism of the performances, and thegrittiness of the setting, recall the neo-realist Italian films of the late 40s. The conclusion,however, is quite conventional, and wouldn’t be out of place in any Hollywood drama. Still, thehope that emerges by the end is welcome after all the despair, and the film wields considerableemotional clout. Scattered throughout are sharply observed bits of humour too, so the film iscompelling to watch, rather than an ordeal.
The 2.0 sound takes every opportunity to deploy surround effects. While the sense of anenvironment is thus very good, there are some misplaced effects (bicycle wheels or the sounds ofa subway train emerging from the rear speakers even as the origin of the sound recedes fromview). The dialogue is crisp and clear. There is no distortion.
There is some grain visible, particularly in panoramic exterior shots. Generally, however, thepicture is very good, with strong blacks, excellent flesh tones and good, gritty colours. There isno visible edge enhancement, and the image is sharp. A solid transfer.
Nothing here but a handful of trailers, including the one for Broken Wings. The menuis basic.
This isn’t cheerful stuff, but it stops short of being overwhelmingly depressing, and it is verymoving. Strong work by all concerned.
Special Features List