Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Time of Favor|
Actors: Aki Avni, Tinkerbell, Idan Alterman, Assi Dayan, Micha Celektar
Director: Joseph Cedar
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Special Interests
A highly respected soldier in the israeli defense forces menachem is also a devout student of controversial west bank settlement leader rabbi metzer. As the rabbis agenda the armys control & desperation all build to a boil... more »
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Great cinematography and good insights into Israel today
Andy Orrock | Dallas, TX | 07/18/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The real star of 'Time of Favor' is cinematographer Ofer Inov. About half the movie takes place at night & the actors appear bathed in an almost bluish tint, with glowing eyes. It's a superb effect.I can see why this movie swept the Israeli version of the Oscars for films released in 2000. It's a well-told, gripping saga of a confrontation between the religious and secular forces that push for ascendancy in Israel. Contrary to what we may think back here in the States, there's a healthy skepticism and mistrust in many parts of Israeli society of the ultra-religious, especially when mixed into national institutions like the Army.Throw in West Bank settlement politics, a messianic rabbi, his flowering daughter, an unbalanced star Torah student, a studly company commander, the Mossad, a star-crossed love triangle...and you've got yourself a very compelling movie.My only problem: the ending is a little too melodramatic and over the top; but it's still a good ride.'Time of Favor' is in Hebrew with English subtitles. The subtitles are very legible and well-timed. Certain untranslatable words and concepts are transliterated from Hebrew and presented in quotes. All in all, the subtitled version of the film loses none of the emotion and subtlety of the original."
A taut, finely scripted thriller
Alejandra Vernon | Long Beach, California | 01/08/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Director/writer Joseph Cedar has crafted a fast paced, riveting thriller around the current themes of ethnic and religious tension in Israel; throw in a love triangle, and you have a nifty, highly entertaining film.
The cast is attractive and the acting excellent, among them Tinkerbell, who plays the love interest, and Idan Alterman (a television comic in Israel) as the rabbi's favorite student Pini, and Abraham Celektar and Amnon Volf as the soldiers Itamar and Mookie, but the two who are most memorable are Aki Avni, who is fabulous as the main hero Menachem (and is a major hunk as well), and Assi Dayan as Rabbi Meltzer.
Dayan gained fame in 1968, when John Huston chose the handsome actor to co-star in "A Walk with Love and Death" (he was known as Assaf Dayan then) and also for his heritage, as his father was the famous general with an eye-patch, Moshe Dayan. Dayan is a multi-talented man, and is brilliant here, as he teaches his students that "whoever does not know that sometimes a dead lion is more alive than the living dog will stay a dog".
The plot of this film concerning the Temple Mount has been around for ages of course, and was one of the central teachings of Meir Kahane (who was gunned down on a NYC street by an Egyptian in 1990), and he had a surprising amount of support, and not just from "the crazies".
Because of its theme, this film will also appeal to people who have an interest in the "end times" and apocalyptic Bible prophesy, and it is refreshingly free of nudity and bedroom scenes.
The script for this award winning film is above average, the cinematography by Ofer Inov very effective, and the score by Jonathan Bar-Giora terrific; the final piece that plays with the credits is fantastic...those in the habit stopping before the credits run, should not miss this song.
This is a film that gets better with repeated viewings, and total time is 102 minutes.
Thought provoking and entertaining
Glutton for books | Washington, DC USA | 02/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the first Israeli movie that I saw and I wish that more would be released on a wide scale in the US. I am not even sure that this was available to audiences in the US, as I saw it in London, and when it returned to the US, many had not heard of it. The cast comprised superb actors, the script was phenomenal, and the cinematography was brilliant (an extra character of its own).
"Time of Favor" explores the issue of moral responsibility. In this movie, it is depicted as a topic vital to natioanl security interests, as interred by the members of the military, but the issue is relevant to all who interact with society. An Israeli friend of mine once said that Isareal is a sate of many different nations and the people all are forced to become one state while serving in the army. This happens to a similar (but less dramatic degree when conscription is not required) extent in all armies.
The movie follows the creation of a regiment comprised soley of people from similar religious interpretations, which would theorectically mean that this regiment is representative of only one nation in Israel; those that join that particular regiment are those who attend services at a Rabbi's synagoue who often stresses the importance of pursuing manifest destiny as religious obligation. Matters take a tragic turn when a member of the regiment conceives of a plan to actively pursue the policy.
Too often Israel is perceived as a monolithic society. Cedar's film reveals the complexity that constitutes the country. There are deep divisions and suspicions between those who consider themselves devoutly religious and those who consider themselves secular. The two sides often look down at one another and there are difficutlties in them hearing each other in the formation if Israeli policy that is suppsoe to protect the state as a whole. Even within the seemingly coherent religious communities, there are different interpretations of which way to proceed, which is not always realized unless memebrs take matters into their own hand.
When the authorities question the people they believe responsible, the Rabbi is investigated. He believes he is innocent, arguing that he never should have been taken literally. Which raises the important question of who is morally responsibile when causualites are inflicted in the name of relgiion or politics? How much credit is to be assumed by the individual who pursues these beliefs with little or no explicit guidance? How much blame should be ascribed to societal institutions which teach rhetoric about the importance of empire and obligations people should assume for insuring security of a way of life?
This film provides fodder for a timely discussion considering the current trials of Americans who are being investigated for torturing Iraqi. The accused claim that they were following orders; the higher ups say no such specific orders were given. So many Americans endorse policies in Israel which they believe will hasten the second coming, according to their religous leaders and with little regard for the impact that the policies will have on the welfare of Israeli citizens; preaching about the need to rebuild the Temple - even though doing so would entail destroying a relgious landmark for Muslims and exacerbating conflict in the region.
On a less original level, the film also examines the coneseqences on friendship that a love triangle imposes, when two best firends fall in love with the same woman, one of whom her traditional father (the Rabbi) wants her to marry, but unfortunately for her, the Rabbi's favorite is not the one that she loves. It is questionable as to how much of the plan was constructed purely to pursue a perceived religious obligation, as opposed to contributing to the down fall of man who became the object of affection of a woman that the plan's architect wanted to marry. The motivation of what contributes people to commit desperate acts that can be defniend as "terrorist plots," is another revelvant theme in modern times. How much are actions motivated by belief in relgion? How much is the pursuit of such actions motivated by a sense of hopelessness in the future or revenge?
This is a movie that should be bought because it is the type that can be watched again and again, and each viewing brings greater depth and raises new questions - the hallmark of a truly great film
?Time of Favor? Somewhat Favorable?
Maximillian Ben Hanan | Sacramento, California, USA | 04/14/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Once in awhile when my roommate and I get a little free time we head down to the video rental store to watch a few movies and I rarely expect to find a movie about Israel or the Middle East that doesn't focus on terrorists and silly Hollywood plots about what they think the Middle East is like (Hollywood does a horrible job of depicting both Arabs and Jews). To my surprise, the last time we went I saw a slick movie case with Hebrew on it extolling the virtues of this Israeli-made film that won quite a few awards. On that whim, we rented "Time of Favor" and hoped for the best.The film is the story of a small religious community from the Yesha (a Hebrew abbreviation of the combination of the words Judia and Samaria, the ancient biblical names of the area the popular press likes to call the West Bank) and their decision to form their own unit when compulsorily enlisting in the Israeli army. In Israel, everyone does national service in the army or for a governmental organization (including women, the handicapped, and a few other groups with a few exceptions). Most recruits serve in a unit local to the area the live in and stay together as a unit until old age finally renders no longer fit to serve as soldiers. "Time for Favor" puts forward a hypothetical situation (to my knowledge) of having an entire religious community serves together in one infantry unit. The unit's officer explains that the Druze and Bedouin have their own units in the army, why not the religious Jews?The movie's plot revolves around a love triangle between the Rabbi's daughter, Michal, the captain of the community's army unit, Menachem, and the Rabbi's most promising student, Pinchas or Pini, also a soldier in the community's army unit. At the same time, there is a political plot by some of the fundamental members of the Yesha community to blow up the Dome of the Rock, the Islamic Temple built upon the ruins of the Jewish Temples from Biblical history. There is also an additional plot extolling the stresses of Michal and her father, Rabbi Meltzer. At one point she explains that she can't forgive her father for bringing her mother out to the Yesha, which had no toilets at the time, while she had cancer and wanted to live in the city, but the Rabbi wouldn't go. He said that if he left, the community would fall part. In addition, there is another plot direction in which Menachem struggles with his conscience as to what to do about Michal whom he loves, Pini, who is his friend and also loves Michal, and the eventual plot to destroy the Muslim Dome of the Rock. Thankfully in the midst of the serious drama, there is some comic relief. The army unit has a secular Jewish member, Mookie, who can't understand how the religious soldiers can push themselves so hard. He finally breaks down and asks one of the religious Jews how they do it, who explains that they do it "For Something," a Hebrew phrase that explains that they have a reason for living and it all leads back to God. Or to draw it out, they are soldiers so that they can live, they live so that they can study Torah (what Christians call the Old Testament), and they study Torah to serve God. It's an elaborate answer for a secular person who lives in a two-dimensional world. Part of Mookie's comedy comes from his base ways, always eating and drinking even under field conditions.The acting, overall, was very good. Tinkerbell (Yes, that's her real actress name!) who plays Michal did a haunting job in the role, expressing angst in a way I expect from German or Russian art films. I'm not sure if she is supposed to be a sex symbol because throughout the film she has dark bags around her eyes and looks more sick and tired than healthy and sexily vibrant. I wonder if her appearance was one of the film's more subtle messages. Aki Avni, who plays Menachem, and Idan Alterman, who plays Pini, both played charismatic likable characters. I enjoyed their acting. Rabbi Meltzer, played by Assi Dayan (Is he Moshe Dayan's son?), was also very good and convincing in his role.Some other reviewers have explained that the film is about suicide bombing, Hellish clerics from the Abrahamic religions, Israeli settlers, or other ideas that don't capture what the film is really about. The film is about the conscience of Israel and the hard choices that get made there every day. It's ethics at its' most poignant, choices with elements of both right and wrong, where no answer is best or obviously correct. Using the term "settlers" is very misleading when used to refer to communities in the Yesha. Jews are no more settlers in Israel than Native Americans who live off of reservations in the USA are "settlers." The Jews have been in Israel since long before the Romans tried to rename the land Palestine, Islam existed as a religion, or even before the idea of nationalism arose in the Arab countries as expressed through men like Arafat.Overall, I enjoyed the movie, but got the impression that the director, Joseph Cedar, is a secular Israeli Jew and that he really doesn't practice Judaism as a religion. His depiction of the religious Jews in the Yesha wasn't very favorable, which I felt was incorrect for a brave and dedicated people. It certainly appears the the director doesn't have much of a grasp of what Judaism is about. Sure there are nuts in the midst of any group of people, but I felt the film didn't do the Israeli communities in the Yesha justice. I recommend "Time of Favor," but not highly.Review by: Maximillian Ben Hanan"