Film-Forward Review: [BROKEN WINGS]

Reviews of Recent Independent, Foreign, & Documentary Films in Theaters and DVD/Home Video

Dafna (L) & Yair (R) on his way to work (Photo: Sharon Bareket)

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Directed, Produced & Written by: Nir Bergman.
Director of Photography: Valentin Belonogov.
Edited by: Einat Glaser Zahrhin.
Music by: Avi Belleli.
Released by: Sony Pictures Classics.
Country of Origin: Israel. 86 min. Rated: R.
With: Orli Zilberschatz-Banai, Maya Maron & Nitai Gvirtz.

At the center of Broken Wings is "Animated Movies," a song that Maya (Maron) sings about her father. The moody, indie-rock ode surfaces a few times and is the only representation of the missing dad, who has recently and suddenly passed away, for which Maya bears responsibility. The oldest of four children, Maya, 17, tries to keep her family together, but sees her mother and her siblings struggle alone with the loss of their father. Maya pleads her mom, Dafna (Zilberschatz-Banai), to be present for them, but Dafna works the night shift as a midwife. Returning from work exhausted, she is just as absent when she is home as when she's gone. Thus, each child is cast off on their own to try to cope with the loss.

These characters are richly textured and so believable that they seem to have existed long before the film begins and ends. Bits of their lives are revealed throughout the course of the film, which effectively add complexity to the characters. Second oldest in the family is troubled Yair (Gvirtz), a nihilist who has effectively dropped out of high school. His dark view on the world is full of angst but holds true to a teenager's tendency toward extremes. The two younger children in the family are also realistically depicted. The youngest boy, 11, won't speak to his mother, and the youngest daughter, six, wants nothing more than to be with Dafna. On top of an already underlying tragedy, another bad event hits the family, forcing them to come together. At one point, Maya asks, tears streaming down her cheeks, "It could be worse, right?" Yair responds that, indeed, it could be worse, and in this recognition, things begin to get better. Caitlin Shamberg, former programming associate for the Mill Valley Film Festival
March 12, 2004



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