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Matana MiShamaim
[DVD]

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Any similarities that the previous correspondent sees between this and the uneven, but always interesting work of Emir Kusturica, must be the result of having seen the supremely awful Gift from Above with an altered mind. Kosashvilli's film is one of the most annoying, poorly-scripted (first year film students would be able to construct the plot better than he does), badly-acted and sloppily-directed pieces of muck that I have had the misfortune to see this year, and I have seen many poor films in the past nine months. If this film had been made by an outsider about the Georgian community of Tel Aviv, they would have a good case for racist stereotyping. As it is, it was made by one of their own and we are all invited to have a merry laugh at the constant humiliation and molestation of women in situations that are not even structurally or physically comical. The plot strand of the young bride forced to get married under the threat of rape is particularly offensive and what is laughable is the expertly millennial sex that this putative virgin enjoys on her wedding night. One wonders exactly how much Kosashvilli knows about real life rather than what he has gleaned from third-rate Hollywood pictures. Our Israeli friend is not the only one to have had bafflingly positive reactions to this film; Cahiers du Cinema compared it to Scorsese. Not even the turgid hackwork churned out by Marty in the past ten years is anywhere near as bad as Gift from Above. A measure of how messy the film is that you are watching it for a full before it becomes apparent that most of the characters are members of the one family. Fundamentals of plot structuring. There is a lot of good cinema coming about of Israel at the moment, such as Raphael Nadjeri's Avanim, Ronit Elkabetz's Prendre Femme and the continuing cinema of Amos Gitai. Gift from Above however is awful rubbish that makes even poor Israeli films like Nir Bergman's Broken Wings seem watchable.
Date Added: 12/03/2013 by Xodua
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