Redemption (Geula) Jewish International Film festival, Melbourne Directed by: Joseph Madmony, Boaz Yehonatan Yaakov Stars: Moshe Folenflik, Emily Granin, Yonatan Galila, Sivan Shtivi, Shahar Even-Tzur, Avigayil Atara Koevary Until: November 21 Where: Lido Cinemas, Classic Cinemas and Cameo Cinemas Rating: ★★★★
By SAM BARSON
Redemption follows the story of an ex-musician, who has moved on from the carefree days of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll, as he is forced to confront a personal mid-life crisis.
This crisis drives him to “get the band back together” – a formula we have seen in many films before, but never has it been presented with such a dark and deeply moralistic tone, as is the case with Joseph Madmony and Boaz Yehonatan Yaakov’s Redemption.
Menachem (Moshe Folkenflik) is a widow and loving father, whose six-year-old daughter (Emily Granin) is diagnosed with terminal cancer.
The treatment she needs is something his supermarket assistant salary cannot afford, so Menachem brings his old bandmates back together to perform at weddings to finance the expensive treatments.
Folkenflik is the anchor of this incredible story and his performance finds an impressive balance of strength and subtlety with every glance, grimace and grin which truly allows the audience into the mind of his character’s tortured and conflicted soul.
It’s a shame to think that because this is an independent foreign film, that he won’t have the same exposure, and therefore the same chance to compete against many less-deserving Hollywood actors come the all-coveted awards season.
The supporting cast also contribute significant value, with Granin’s standout performance being particularly stunning due to the emotion she needed to portray at her age.
Issues with this film may arise for audiences when it comes to witnessing the moral decisions made by Menachem, due to his conservative, Jewish, religious beliefs.
A scene that will be most divisive is when Menachem’s religious beliefs are placed before the chance to further his daughter’s chances of survival.
Despite any moral issues that the lead character may present, at its core, this is a story about a father who loves his daughter.
A special touch to this film is the musical interludes that show Menachem’s band playing at various weddings, which come as a welcome and much-needed break.
Redemption is an incredibly impressive contribution by the Israeli film industry.