Keren Margalit’s “All I’ve Got” lies somewhere between Alain Resnais’ complex fascination with love and time and the pithy narrative mysticism of “The Twilight Zone” in its telling of a dead woman en route to heaven who’s confronted with the choice between the two loves of her life. Produced as part of the “Reflections of Women” series for Israeli TV, Margalit’s short feature has just enough intrigue, depth and craft to stand on its own theatrically, but this kind of exposure will be kept strictly to the Jewish film fest circuit.
Margalit admirably bases her imaginings of an afterlife in an unsentimental framework which has no truck with either of the standard movie visions of what comes after death — either an airy fairy universe or some terrifying horrorshow of damnation. Rather, when 72-year-old Tamara (singer and thesp Lea Szlanger) shows up on a dock to register for her voyage to the Hereafter, she’s like any passenger at any port trying to get on the right ship — plus, she’s dying for a smoke.
Preceding this is a brief prologue depicting a 1955 car accident that killed Tamara’s b.f. Uri (Amit Drori) but spared her; now, she wants to be reunited on “the ship of the young” with Uri. The ship’s burly, no-nonsense captain (Igal Naor) demands, though, that Tamara make a fateful choice: If she’s to be with Uri, she can revert to her youth, but her memories of her long life with husband David (Nathan Gogan) and family will be wiped clean. It’s a rich and moving character decision with genuine resonance.”All I’ve Got” has some terrific hooks along the way, all of which flow easily out of the narrative. Choosing Uri and young again Tamara (played by Sylwia Trzesniowska), her tale would seem to be over. But then David appears, having killed himself shortly after her death in order to be with her. Playing both sides of Tamara –Szlanger and Trzesniowska — ably express the youthful and elderly aspects of the character’s situation of selecting between two kinds of loving, deepened along the way by a well-earned poignancy.
Vid production is expertly mounted, presenting this place of life passage as uncomfortably claustrophobic, but prime for maximum intimacy.