Footnote [Blu-Ray] Joseph Cedar

Footnote [Blu-Ray] Joseph Cedar
Compared to other nominees for Best Foreign Language Film at this year's Academy Awards, Israel's Footnote doesn't have the same heady subject matter as In Darkness (a polish Holocaust story), and it may not share a topicality on par with Iran's A Separation. But Footnote's director, Joseph Cedar, deserves praise for taking a minor fable about a rivalry between father and son and imbuing it with emotional and psychological complexity. The father and son in question are Eliezer and Uriel Shkolnik (Shlomo Bar Aba and Lior Ashkenazi), both of whom are Talmudic scholars. Eliezer is a perfectionist, having spent most of his life piecing together extracts of a forgotten version of the Talmud, just to have his recognition taken from him by a rival who finds a complete copy of that very book. Uriel, on the other hand, is a populist, moving on from subject to subject without ever doing what his father would consider "sufficient" research. Enjoying the story doesn't require a great deal of knowledge of the Talmud, as the meat of the conflict is found in the passive-aggressive relationship of the two scholars. This conflict manifests itself more explicitly in a rivalry over the prestigious Israel Prize. The Blu-Ray packaging claims the film is a comedy, but that's not really the case. It's more of a light drama ― a drama that realizes eggheads and intellectuals are more likely to repress their emotions than confront each other. Cedar's solution for creating a climax to a film about this stoic bread of person is a tour-de-force montage from Eliezer's perspective, illuminating the conflict between wanting to find the truth and wanting to be recognized. The Blu-Ray contains a 24-minute, meandering, unfocused and nigh-unwatchable behind-the-scenes documentary, as well as "An Evening With Joseph Cedar," which is pretty obviously a post-screening Q&A conducted at last year's Toronto International Film Festival. These features don't give much insight into the film, but do provide a history for the two lead actors, who are quite well known in Israel. (Sony)