Review: ‘Day After Day’

The second part of trilogy on contemporary Israeli cities, Amos Gitai's "Day After Day" is a moving family drama set in the port of Haifa as seen through the lives of a Jewish-Arab clan. Simply told in a series of vignettes, it packs unexpected emotion. A film with travel potential, it should score OK international sales in top markets once it completes fest engagements.

The second part of trilogy on contemporary Israeli cities, Amos Gitai’s “Day After Day” is a moving family drama set in the port of Haifa as seen through the lives of a Jewish-Arab clan. Simply told in a series of vignettes, it packs unexpected emotion. A film with travel potential, it should score OK international sales in top markets once it completes fest engagements.

The unnamed family is the result of a union between Hanna (Hanna Maron), a Jewish woman, and her Arab husband, Yussef (Yussef Abu Warda), who runs a bakery. But much of the plot focuses on their son, Moshe, or Mussa (Moshe Ivgi), whose marriage is falling apart and who is experiencing some sort of identity crisis.

The other thread concerns an Israeli developer who wants to buy the shop for a proposed retail mall. Though the couple plan to retire, for Yussef selling the property would be a political statement, with implications regarding the balance between the two cultures.

While there’s an underlying tension between Arabs and Jews, “Day After Day” is consumed more by everyday matters such as relationships, military training and even buying a TV set. There’s a documentary feel to Gitai’s direction that gives the more obviously dramatic moments an added punch. It’s an effective approach visually and in terms of storytelling.

Ivgi is an ideal Everyman, with more warmth than looks and a hyperactive personality. His life-long friend Jule is played by Juliano Merr, who has an easy charisma. Remainder of the ensemble cast is strong, with Maron and Abu Warda anchoring the piece and Dalit Kahan riveting as Moshe’s conflicted wife.

Day After Day

(COMEDY-DRAMA -- ISRAELI-FRENCH)

Production

An Agav Films/Cinema Factory production. Produced by Eyal Shiray, Laurent Truchot. Executive producer, Ilan Moscovitch. Co-producers, Michel Propper, Roberto Cicutto, David Mandil, Michael Tapuach. Directed by Amos Gitai. Screenplay, Jacky Cukier, Gitai.

Crew

Camera (color), Renato Berta; editors, Nili Richter, Ruben Kornfeld; music, Philippe Eidel, Josef Bradanashvily; art director, Thierry Francois; costume designer, Hefi Bohem; sound (Dolby), Michel Kharat. Reviewed at World Film Festival, Montreal (Cinema of Today), Sept. 2, 1998. Running time: 106 MIN.

With

Moshe ..... Moshe Ivgi Hanna ..... Hanna Maron Jule ..... Juliano Merr Didi ..... Dalit Kahan Yussef ..... Yussef Abu Warda Grisha ..... Nataly Atiya Doctor ..... Anne Petit-LaGrange Shmul ..... Sahmuel Calderon Nadim ..... Gassan Abass Mimi ..... Keren Mor
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