Starring: Shlomo Bar-Aba, Lior Ashkenazi, Aliza Rosen
Directed by: Joseph Cedar (“Beaufort”)
Written by: Joseph Cedar (“Beaufort”)
Nominated in the Best Foreign Language category last year, “Footnote” is an Israeli film written and directed by Joseph Cedar, who was also nominated for an Oscar in 2008 for his war drama “Beaufort.” It is evident Cedar is now the voice of Israeli filmmaking. With “Footnote,” he has crafted a smartly-written dark dramedy about a father and son that brims with real human emotion (frustration, humiliation, jealousy) and subtle humor. It is constructed in a way that is immensely engaging for audiences that don’t mind subtitles running at the bottom of the screen (almost like actual footnotes if you think about it). If “Footnote” were a research paper, it would be one that deserves big, bold letters in the center of the page.
The film follows father and son Eliezer (Shlomo Bar-Aba) and Uriel Shkolink (Lior Ashkenazi), two professors who have dedicated their lives to Talmudic Studies. While Eliezer’s best years as a researcher have passed by him without much recognition from his peers, Uriel is at the pinnacle of his career and receiving the accolades his father has always wanted. After 20 years of getting overlooked for the prestigious Israel Prize, Eliezer is finally called upon to accept the award. But at what cost?
With a whimsical and often circus-like score by composer Amit Poznansky, the understated rivalry between father and son is presented as this satirical and often complicated relationship. Both Bar-Aba and Ashkenazi give wonderfully nuanced and tender performances while director/writer Cedar allows audiences to piece the family turmoil together one uncomfortable scenes after another.