The Matchmaker

We just came back from brunch at a restaurant where we almost had to shout to be heard.  The noise was deafening, even for someone younger, with better hearing.

As we were leaving, I was thinking of the noise we’re surrounded by all the time, which I acknowledge isn’t an original thought!

In contrast, I then thought of the nuanced, covert, hidden and illusive elements in life and in art – – the quiet moments, and my thoughts went back to the movie we saw last night.

You may have an aversion to subtitles, but I – having grown up with them, have no such problem whatsoever.  But even if you hate subtitles, make an effort to see this particular movie. It is an exquisite paradox of simplicity and complexity.

The movie is anything but loud. There’s nothing there that’s in your face.  So if you love a mainstream Hollywood movie, stay home!

The Matchmaker, Avi Nesher’s film (yes, I finally realized that I left the name out) has so many themes artfully coalescing and interweaving, that you only realize at the end of the movie … and sometime later, that it was rich in its story telling and yet you’re hardly aware of its many different tales.

I stated that it’s not loud, because there’s nothing that’s “in your face”.

There’s the coming of age implied sex-scene, but you don’t see any image beyond the actors taking off their tops.

There’s the many references to the holocaust, but there’s not one image from the holocaust. Most of these references to it boil down to the word ‘there’.

There’s the death of one of the main protagonists, but you only see the death announcement in the newspaper.

So much is alluded to, and you have to fill in the blanks. I felt like I was treated like an intelligent viewer, and I appreciated that.

In an age of the Joker and Aurora Colorado, when submachine guns spray bullets loudly and kill indiscriminately, I appreciate deep emotions exhibited delicately.

You can say so much, quietly, with a whisper. You can show so much with a subtle image of a hand.

Young Arik aka “Flipper” played by the handsome Tuval Shafir, grabs your heart from the beginning with his good looks and dark eyes.

Yankele the ex-pat Romanian matchmaker, played by Adir Miller, who is amazing – and not unlike many greats, acquired his fame by being a comedian, is scarred and unattractive and there’s even a repulsive element to him. You know that he’s been through a lot, more than you care to know, and that he’s a pure survivor. And yet, slowly but surely, you connect with his humanity, his love and commitment despite his dark side.

When a group of soldiers make fun of Sylvia the dwarf – and fellow Romanian, Yankele stands up and gets in their faces. He tells them that she is a human being just like everyone else, and he will fight to honor that.

You want to know more about him, but a lot will remain a mystery, and you’re thankful for that.

The pirouette between the Romanian survivors; the innocent adolescent who wants to know more, and a universal pursuit of love, is at the heart of the movie.

 … And the core, the message, is delivered softly.

And it is good.

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About rachel bar

Psychotherapist and supervisor.
This entry was posted in The Matchmaker- the movie, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to The Matchmaker

  1. Maddy Zimring says:

    I agree wholeheartedly. I thoroughly enjoyed the film and appreciated it’s subtelty and humanity. I also seek out foreign films and usually avoid mainstream movies. Thank God for the Laemmle!!

    Maddy

  2. Martha Carr says:

    Sounds delightful and that it brought out the many essences
    of humanity. I will put it on the top of my movie list!

  3. Rob says:

    Sounds good: I’ll keep my eyes peeled for that one.

  4. I could use a good movie. Haven’t been to one since the Exotic Hotel. Love the pictures. You’re a good reviewer since I’m actually flipping through the paper to see if it’s playing anywhere. There’s an artsy theater on the West Side that might be showing it.

    Have appreciated all of your comments on athingirl lately. Thank you.

  5. nfpisms says:

    I suggest Vittoria de Sica’s 1970 film “Garden of the Finzi-Continis” as another subdued, quiet work that contains implicit *(and all the more powerful) rather than explicit violence. It’s set in a well-to-do Jewish enclave in fascist Italy as WW II is about to break out. The Elders are in denial about what is happening outside their garden walls; the young ‘uns are trying to cram in whatever love they can before hell breaks loose. The ending is searing in its pain, and entirely devoid of any graphic violence or noise.

  6. rachel bar says:

    Nick, this is one of the movies on my list to watch for the past 30 years! Oh my god, I’m so old! For some reason I’ve avoided it, because I had a strong feeling that it’s going to be very painful.

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