Nir Bergman's first feature film is nothing short of wonderful. It was awarded the Grand Prix at the Tokyo Film Festival, and received nine Israeli film academy awards. This poignant drama explores the vulnerability of the cohesive forces within a family unit.
Nine months have lapsed since the untimely death of the husband and father of a ‘typical' family. This family happens to be Israeli, Jewish, living in Haifa. But from the perspective of the story, as well as my personal communication with Mr. Bergman, this could be any family, anywhere. Mr. Bergman struggles (and succeeds) in keeping the family as generic as possible. He avoids the downfall of many Israeli films by staying clear of political commentary and cultural controversy. Broken Wings is carefully maintained within a credible theatrical microcosm.
Seventeen year-old Maya (Maya Maron) is the oldest daughter. Her youthful dream of getting a record deal as a talented vocalist in a band is squashed by her anguish, guilt, and sudden unanticipated role as the mature older sister. Her mother, Dafna (Orli Zilverchatz-Banay) is a midwife, burdened by the loss of her husband, financial strain, erratic hours, double shifts, and four grieving children. Each child's difficulty in coping with loss is displayed with dramatic metaphors. The oldest son drops out of school, and overflowing with existential apathy, takes a dead end job handing out leaflets while wearing a mouse costume. The younger son is obsessed with the idea of videotaping himself jumping into an empty swimming pool. A pool that he is forbidden to approach. His little sister finds herself isolated, alone, not knowing who will pick her up from school each day, simply wishing that whoever it is would arrive on time.
Everyday external stressors including inclement whether, strained relationships and stalled automobiles, amplify each dissonant note within the family. Then, in the classic Hollywood style that American moviegoers anticipate and love, Nir Bergman manages to circuitously resolve conflict with a reconciliation of relationships, and we see a re-awakening of life's priorities. A sub-plot beneath this canopy of complex relationships is the time-honored struggle of mother and daughter. A struggle that daughters refuse to concede to and where mothers persist in asserting their strength.
The review of this Movie prepared by Gary Branfman, MD