Ben’s Biography

Flashback-told tale about an obsessive-compulsive accountant remembering his crazy childhood reps silly psychodrama by veteran Israeli helmer Dan Wolman. Multitasking helmer's good rep will probably ensure "Biography" gets published at a few more fests, but international distribs won't read the same commercial potential here.

With:
With Gal Zaid, Shron Alexander, Avigail Arieli, Gani Tamir. Hebrew, English dialogue.

Flashback-told tale about an obsessive-compulsive accountant remembering his crazy childhood, “Ben’s Biography” reps silly psychodrama by veteran Israeli helmer Dan Wolman, whose earlier, more effective “The Distance,” shared a similar no-budget ethos. Multitasking helmer’s good rep will probably ensure “Biography” gets published at a few more fests, but international distribs won’t read the same commercial potential here as in Wolman’s last, “Foreign Sister.”

Opening reel starts out well enough with nebishy Ben (Gal Zaid), who wears gloves all day and hates being touched, accepting a lift from motherly Tamar (Shron Alexander) to his father’s funeral. In return, he does her tax return and tells her the story of how his shrink dad, anthropologist mom and a sexually abusive female babysitter contrived to screw him up. Supposedly comical scenes of mom among African tribesmen with huge, prehensile penises come across as outright racist, as well as ludicrous. Tonal shift from wan comic whimsy to darker tale of abuse recollected is poorly executed, although reasonable work from thesps, especially Zaid, mitigates matters somewhat. Tech credits are decidedly dicey, even taking into account budget restrictions.

Ben's Biography

Israel

Production: A Dan Wolman production. (International sales: Dan Wolman, Ramat Gan, Israel.) Produced, directed, written by Wolman.

Crew: Camera (color), Itamar Hadar; editor, Shoshana Wolman; music, Ofir Leibowitz. Reviewed at Moscow Film Festival (competing), June 23, 2004. Running time: 94 MIN.

With: With Gal Zaid, Shron Alexander, Avigail Arieli, Gani Tamir. Hebrew, English dialogue.

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