Synonymes

Nadav Lapid, France/Israel, 2019

This was a super little surprise! Really good. Original. Great camerawork. Well written but with a loose narrative structure that didn’t at all answer all the questions that pop up while watching – who? why? how?… But that’s OK. It was all the more interesting for it.

Based on the director’s own story, we follow a young Israeli man, Yoav. He has fled Israel to Paris, where he puts a lot of faith in French values and rejects his own country (to the point of refusing to speak his native tongue).

At times, it reminded me of Godard’s Masculin Féminin, with conversations that you’re not quite sure what they’re about but they seem Meaningful. And Yoav’s polo-neck wearing, writer friend Emile was just like Jean-Pierre Léaud. The film had a lot to say about nationality and immigration, and the privilege we experience (and don’t appreciate) within Europe’s high-walled garden.

We are in a male world, but not a patriarchal, toxic, mysogynistic one. The film is a loving celebration of masculinity, focusing predominantly on men – one who has the body of Adonis, the other the face – and the tenderness and understanding between them.

At times I was a bit confused as to what was going on, but I think that was the film, not because I wasn’t following the subtitles – which I was! I almost felt by the end of the film that I could understand French!

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