Lorraine Levy examines life, love and family in "The Other Son."
PHOTO IS COURTESY OF COHEN MEDIA GROUP.
You know a film is heavy in dramatic content when Israeli/Palestinian relations are an afterthought. Lorrain Levys The Other Son is powerful enough to eschew culture for family.
Joseph (Jules Sitruk) is an 18-year-old musician preparing to serve the Israeli army as part of his mandatory military service. His life turns upside down when blood tests indicate that he is not his parents biological son. As Joseph sets out to Palestine to discover his real parents and true heritage, the repercussions of this revelation extend far beyond himself.
The acting, as a whole, that makes the film more than the sum of its parts. Sitruk gives a quiet and nuanced performance. By playing cipher, the scenes inherent drama is allowed to unfold naturally. Josephs newfound brother, Yacine (A wonderful Medhi Dehbi), is perfect counterpoint, proving that people are as much nature as they are nurture.
Call and response seem to define the acting in the film as Josephs parents (Emmanuelle Devos and Pascal Elbe) give a clinic on restraint, while Yacines family (Areen Omari, Khalifi Natour) exudes nothing but patience and understanding. While it may seem extremes, it allows for the tension to build to a slow burn over the course of the whole film.
Written by Lorraine Levy, Nathalie Saugeon, Noam Fitoussi, the premise is predictable but the film isnt plot driven per se; The Other Son is better served as a character study. To have the focus on family rather than Joseph, is an inspired choice given that earth-shattering news tends to reverberate rather than stay at the epicenter.
Also directed by Levy, she captures the heart and spirit of Tel Aviv. From the nightlife to the beaches, its a welcome breath of fresh air from what most American audiences come to expect from the area.
Playing in limited release, The Other Son is sneaky good.