For My Father will be screened as part of the New Jersey Jewish Film Festival on Saturday, March 21, at 9 p.m. at the Clearview Headquarters 10 in Morristown, and Sunday, March 29, at 3 p.m. at the Leon & Toby Cooperman JCC, Ross Family Campus, West Orange.
The Ninth Annual New Jersey Jewish Film Festival, sponsored by JCC MetroWest, will run from March 19 through 29. Tickets for each screening cost $12, $10 for seniors, and $8 for students. Tickets for the opening night (The Little Traitor) and closing night films — which include post-screening discussions with special guests and a dessert reception — cost $20, $18 for seniors, and students. Group sales are also available.
The movies will be shown at the Leon & Toby Cooperman JCC, Ross Family Campus, West Orange, and other venues.
Visit www.njjff.org to view the schedule or to order tickets. Advance tickets may also be purchased by calling 800-494-TIXS or 973-530-3444. For more information, contact Heather Sorkin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 19, 2009
When a Palestinian suicide bomber fails to complete his mission in the crowded Carmel Market in Tel Aviv, the stage is set for a dramatic morality tale in For My Father (Sof Shavua B’Tel Aviv).
Tarek, the protagonist of Dror Zahavi’s 2008 film, has been put in this unenviable position because his father was suspected of collaborating with the Israelis. What other explanation could there be when he is able to drive Tarek to Nazareth so he can play on a premier soccer club with so little interference by the IDF?
The young man is no ideologue. He understands the necessity of the plan, but is fulfilling it out of an obligation to his father’s redemption rather than politics. An early scene in which his two handlers strap the bomb vest on him is particularly harrowing. What can be going through his mind, knowing what lies ahead? The abrupt colleague warns him they can set off the bomb via cell phone if he loses his nerve; the soothing one assures him all will go according to plan.
But when the detonator malfunctions, Tarek must think quickly. He stumbles across an electrical store run by Katz, an old man who lost his only son during an IDF training exercise many years before. But the component Tarek needs isn’t in stock, and since it’s just before Shabbat, Katz can’t get one until Sunday. He invites the young man to spend the weekend with him and his wife. Tarek manages to keep the bomb hidden through the entire film (why no one questions him about the sport coat he never removes remains a mystery.)
In the interim, Tarek comes to the aid of Keren, the teenage girl who runs a newspaper kiosk across the street from Katz, when she is accosted by members of the Orthodox community. They are there to bring her home, despite the great shame she has brought on her father.
Zahavi does a marvelous job at keeping viewers on a roller coaster. We jump every time Tarek’s cell phone rings for an update from his terrorist buddies. But now that he has met the enemy and sees them in human terms and not as an abstraction, now that he’s lived among these harmless people, there is no way he will carry out his contract…is there?
Shredi Jabarin and Hili Yaron touchingly portray, respectively, Tarek and Keren, who, although drawn to each other, realize the impossibility of their plight, albeit for different reasons.
For My Father won the Audience Award at the Moscow International Film Festival and was nominated for seven categories — including best actor for Jabarin and best supporting actor for Shlomo Vishinsky, who plays Katz, in the Award of the Israeli Film Academy.