Broken Wings

Israeli director's debut takes flight

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Nir Bergman’s first feature is a delicately observed, morbidly comic study of a grieving family. Dafna Ulman has been struggling to cope since the death of her husband. She’s skint. Her teenage son has quit school and taken a dead-end job distributing flyers, dressed as a gigantic mouse. Her teenage daughter, who dreams of becoming a pop star, is furious that she’s always the one left to baby-sit for her doe-eyed five-year-old sister and traumatised 10-year-old brother, whose petty hobby is diving into empty swimming pools. There’s something paradoxical about the Ulmans. Mother and kids are intelligent and resourceful, but so wrapped up in their grief that common sense has left them. Teetering on the verge of mawkishness, with a lachrymose soundtrack, the film is lifted by Bergman’s eye for psychological details, his line in deadpan humour and his constant willingness to show both the hostility and the tenderness the family clearly feel for one another. An auspicious start.


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