Sunday, January 29, 2012

"The Footnote," Israeli Wry Comedy, Gets Oscar Nomination For Best Foreign Film


Last September we shared a story about a new wry comedy from Israel titled "Footnote" (The Hebrew title is He'arat Shulayim) that was selected to be shown at the New York Film Festival at Lincoln Center. Now comes the news that the film, for which Joseph Cedar was given the prize for Best Screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival, has been nominated for an Oscar in the Best Foreign Film category.

From our perspective, reporting from Jerusalem this week, it's clear that the nomination has made a big impression on the public. Everyone is talking about it with great anticipation, especially since a film from Iran has also been nominated for the same honor.
  
Here's the plot synopsis: Thanks to a clerical error, Eliezer Shkolnik, a respected if little-known Talmudic scholar, is informed that he’s won the coveted Israel Prize; in truth, the prize was meant for his son, Uriel, a much more flamboyant, widely-read Talmudist. The authorities ask Uriel to help them rectify the situation, but Uriel argues the case for his father’s deserving the honor. 

Meanwhile, Eliezer plans to use the occasion as an opportunity to intellectually take down his son and the whole generation of a la mode Talmudists. Cedar has here created the wryest of Jewish comedies, a emotional competition that pits father against son, built around the understanding of sacred texts. Rarely has the weight of a culture’s intellectual past been depicted so forecefully, nor shown to be as vibrant. 

The film, which was shot at sites in and around Jerusalem, depicts situations that bring smiles to residents who know too well some of the less than perfect aspects of Israeli building construction.  For example, the way participants in a meeting have to navigate around the small conference room and the non-functioning water cooler in the hallway.

In the video below, JN1 TV correspondent Jordana Miller interviews Israelis in the street to get their views on the film and what the nomination means to them.  Enjoy! 

(A SPECIAL NOTE FOR NEW EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS:  THE VIDEO MAY NOT BE VIEWABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL THAT YOU GET EACH DAY ON SOME COMPUTERS AND TABLETS.  YOU MUST CLICK ON THE TITLE AT THE TOP OF THE EMAIL TO REACH THE JEWISH HUMOR CENTRAL WEBSITE, FROM WHICH YOU CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO.)
 

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