You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Someone to Run With

Mystery, romance and a golden Labrador race through the byways of Jerusalem in Israeli helmer Oded Davidoff's "Someone to Run With."

With: Bar Belfer, Yonatan Bar-Or, Tzahi Grad, Rinat Matatov, Yuval Mendelson, Danny Steg, Neomi Polani.

Mystery, romance and a golden Labrador race through the more seamy byways of Jerusalem in Israeli helmer Oded Davidoff’s “Someone to Run With,” a breezy cross between “Lassie” and “Oliver Twist.” Based on David Grossman’s bestseller, pic moves briskly in parallel arcs as a lad follows a lost dog bounding through the mean streets in search of its mistress. Well-structured dual-time sense and highly appealing perfs by tyro teen leads (Bar Belfer was nominated for an actress Ophir) make for a noirish, enjoyable adventure. Curiously wholesome walk on the dark side could find an arthouse squat.

Taking a summer job at the pound, Assaf (Yonatan Bar-Or), an amiable 17-year-old whose goofy grin wards off all manner of discouragement, sets out to track down the unknown owner of Dinka the dog. Pulled along willy-nilly by the anxious canine, Assaf is regaled by neighborhood folk with tales of Dinka’s owner, Tamar (Belfer), a street-singing waif with a guitar and a mysterious agenda. Already a pushover for the tail-wagging Labrador retriever, Assaf increasingly feels drawn to the damsel in distress whose steps he is retracing.

Flashbacks to Tamar alternate with Assaf’s quest as he passes through the same Jerusalem exteriors. Tamar, like Joan of Arc, has shaved her head for a rescue mission of her own, and allows herself to be swept up by a Fagan-like character, Pesach (Tzahi Grad), who shelters street musicians as a front for a more nefarious trade.

Holding the troubadours virtual prisoners, Pesach has them perform in selected public squares while his thugs deal drugs on the fringes of the gathered crowds. Tamar’s roommate Shelley (Rinat Matatov) fiercely embodies the hopelessness of these lost kids.

Pic has been promoted as an expose, a nightmarish descent into the soft underbelly of Jerusalem. Yet no matter what horrors Assaf and Tamar encounter in their tandem storylines — Assaf chased, beaten and threatened at every turn, Tamar bullied and imprisoned, watching friends and loved ones ravaged by drugs — both juves remain oddly untouched and untouchable. They come off as almost childishly heroic, wearing their goodness (and their class status) as impenetrable shields, envied and admired by those weaker beings enslaved by drugs and/or cowardice.

Thesps Bar-Or and Belfer manage to inject their characters with enough wistfulness, sweetness and compassion to prevent their strength from reading as self-righteousness.

Tech credits are fine. Yaron Scharf’s color-leached HD lensing grounds pic in the topography of Jerusalem’s “other” side.

Someone to Run With


Production: A JCS, HOT production. Produced by Andrew Braunsberg, Philippa Kowarsky, Shmulik Shem Tov, Orly Bruck, Oriana Ghivoly. Executive producers, Gaby Rosenberg, Alon Shtruzman. Co-producers, Mirit Toovi, Efrat Rabinovich. Directed by Oded Davidoff. Screenplay, Noah Stollman, based on the novel by David Grossman.

Crew: Camera (color, HD), Yaron Scharf; editor, Ron Omer; music, Ran Shem Tov; production designer, Shahar Bar-Adon; sound (Dolby Digital), Aviv Aldema; casting, Orit Azoulay. Reviewed at New York Jewish Film Festival, Jan. 10, 2008. Running time: 116 MIN.

With: With: Bar Belfer, Yonatan Bar-Or, Tzahi Grad, Rinat Matatov, Yuval Mendelson, Danny Steg, Neomi Polani.

More Film

  • Wings Over Everest

    Terence Chang's 'Wings Over Everest' Set to Swell China's Rescue Film Genre

    “Wings over Everest,” a new action adventure film from veteran producer Terence Chang and “Wolf Warrior 2” producer Lu Jianmin, is poised to join the burgeoning Chinese sub-genre of rescue movies.   The Chinese- and English-language film stars Chinese actress Zhang Jingchu (“Project Gutenberg”; “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation”), Japanese actor Koji Yakusho (“Babel”; “Memoirs of a [...]

  • The Eight Hundred (The 800)

    China Film Marketing Firms Must Adapt To Internet Age, Says Huayi's Jerry Ye

    Huayi Brothers Pictures CEO and media group VP Jerry Ye made no mention Sunday of the abrupt cancellation of the premiere for his firm’s highly anticipated war epic “The Eight Hundred,” which was set to be the Shanghai Intl. Film Festival’s opening film the night before. Instead, he looked to the future at a panel [...]

  • The Meg

    Chinese Script Development Requires A Different Touch, Top Producers Say

    Leading film producers highlighted the challenges of developing good scripts in China and abroad at a panel during the Shanghai International Film Festival on Sunday. Wanda Media GM Jiang Wei (aka Wayne Jiang) recommended that producers remain aware of the real differences between the scriptwriting process for Chinese productions versus international and co-productions. The fundamental [...]

  • Lou Ye's "Spring Fever"

    Shanghai: Previously-Banned Producer Nai An Now Hails Chinese Film Funding

    At a panel on indie film production at the Shanghai Intl. Film Festival, Chinese and foreign producers discussed the shifting funding landscape for their projects over the years. Nai An, the longtime collaborator of controversial sixth generation Chinese filmmaker Lou Ye, kicked off the talk with a look back at her producing career, which has [...]

  • My Dear Friend

    Shanghai Film Review: 'My Dear Friend'

    Like a slow-acting hallucinogen, Chinese director Yang Pingdao’s audaciously strange and sorrowful feature debut works its magic so gradually that it’s with a slight surprise that halfway through you glance down and realize you’re high off the social-realist ground, suspended surreally in the air. At first a gritty tale of feckless men abandoning their families [...]

  • Agent M (Tessa Thompson) and Agent

    Box Office: 'Men in Black: International' Ranks No. 1 Overseas With $74 Million

    Sony’s “Men in Black: International” is making good on its title, leading overseas box office charts with $74 million from 56 foreign territories. Combined with its disappointing $28 million start in North America, the latest chapter in the sci-fi action series debuted with $102.2 million globally. “Men in Black: International” sees “Thor: Ragnarok” co-stars Tessa [...]

  • Agent H (Chris Hemsworth) and Agent

    'Men in Black: International' Leads Box Office With Muted $28 Million

    Hollywood seems to be coming down with a contagious case of franchise fatigue this summer, as “Men in Black: International” and “Shaft” become the latest sequels largely dismissed by moviegoers in North America. Sony’s “Men in Black: International” led ticket sales at the box office this weekend with $28.5 million, but still fell short of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content