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The Cemetery Club

"The Cemetery Club" is Tali Shemesh's low-key chronicle of a group of Jerusalem oldsters who every week carry plastic lawn chairs to the Mount Herzl cemetery to discuss poetry, philosophy, the world situation and eat lunch. This audience enchanter should show the muscle to migrate from festival screens to small theatrical venues.

At times wickedly funny, at others poignantly human, “The Cemetery Club” is Tali Shemesh’s low-key chronicle of a group of Jerusalem oldsters who every week carry plastic lawn chairs to the Mount Herzl cemetery to discuss poetry, philosophy, the world situation and eat lunch. Against this humorous backdrop, the director candidly explores the close ties between two elderly ladies who survived the Polish ghetto and Auschwitz. This audience enchanter, which has been in domestic release for five months now, should show the muscle to migrate from festival screens to small theatrical venues.

Crabby, bossy Lena dominates her mild-mannered sister-in-law Minya (the director’s grandmother). They go back to pre-war Poland, when they lived on the same street, and share many family secrets the viewer becomes privy to. Like other members of their contentious discussion group, they are Holocaust survivors, a fact that gives the docu scope and depth. Final scenes of the aging group have a poignant overtone. Pic won Best Asian Documentary 2006 at the Shanghai Television Festival.

The Cemetery Club

Israel

Production: A Norma Prods. production. (International sales: Philippa Kowarsky, Cinephil, Tel Aviv.) Produced by Assaf Amir, Guy Lavie. Directed, written by Tali Shemesh.

Crew: Camera (color), Shark De-Mayo; editor, Aliza Esquira; music, Rona Kenan, Eldad Gwetta; sound, Moti Hefetz, Eli Taragan. Reviewed at Sarajevo Film Festival (Panorama), Bosnia-Herzegovina, Aug. 23, 2006. Hebrew, Polish dialogue. Running time: 90 MIN.

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