Top Israeli femme director Michal Bat-Adam turns introspective for “An Imagined Autobiography,” but prospects abroad are dim beyond specialty fest showings. Story concerns a film director (Bat-Adam) who is making a movie about her childhood and adolescence while dealing with her father’s decline. Film bows stateside at New York’s Israel Film Festival on Nov. 10, and screens at the Boston Jewish Film Festival on Nov. 15.
The clash between film and reality is really the core of the movie, with scenes from the autobiographical film clashing with scenes from Aya’s memory. Sometimes the memory is harsher and sometimes the film is, as if Bat-Adam doesn’t trust either as a source of truth.
Her character’s childhood was a rough one, with a distant father (Gedalia Besser) and a mentally disturbed mother (Liat Goren) who was in and out of institutions. However, the point of it all seems to be for the adult character to feel sorry for herself, and the ultimate resolution — when she realizes that the mystery of life will never be fully revealed to her — falls flat.
Femme performances are good, with Goren touching as the mother losing her grip on reality, and Michal Zoartz and Shira Lew-Munk on target as Aya at different ages. Gedalia Besser’s father is more problematical, especially in flashbacks where his hair is dyed in a failed attempt to make him look younger.
Tech values are also a problem in a film where movies, reality and fantasies mix together. Some scenes have such harsh lighting that it appears characters are being followed around by spotlights.
Pic is being shown as part of retro of Bat-Adam’s films. That’s probably the best showcase for it.