A home-turf hit nominated for 14 Israeli Film Awards last year, vet TV writer Reshef Levi’s directorial debut feature, “Lost Islands,” wraps pages of recent Israeli history around family seriocomedics and the old two-brothers-one-girl hook. It’s the kind of crowdpleaser reliant on golden oldies as much as any dramatic depth for emotional impact, and its slightly pat air might curtail offshore arthouse prospects. But ancillary sales should be plentiful.
The Levis of Kfar Saba are a boisterous 1980 clan of five boys wrangled by willful mom Sima (Orly Silbersatz Banai) and long-suffering dad Avraham (Shmil Ben Ari). Primary focus is on far-from-identical twins Ofer (Oshri Cohen) and Erez (Michael Moshonov); when worldly, beauteous Neta (Yuval Scharf) turns up in school, brash, athletic Ofer calls dibs, though Neta initially prefers bookish, sickly Erez. Family loyalty is tested over the years as a discovered infidelity has disastrous consequences, and fate destines Erez for the military career Ofer coveted. Breezy, entertaining pic is very well acted and confidently packaged, even if the eventual tragic turns feel as efficiently formulaic as the early hijinks set to vintage Yazoo and Flock of Seagulls.