Published Jul 01, 2005There really isn't much news to be had from this journey out of Israel into the German heart of darkness, but its variations on the theme make it worth the trip.
A pair of used car dealers (tough cookie Avi Kushnir; timid mouse Moshe Ivgy) think they've lucked out when they're offered a metallic blue limousine thought to be a collector's item. They embark upon a trip to Germany to sell the car and strike an imagined financial mother lode. Unfortunately, they arrive to find a nightmare as the car is devalued and they wind up lost without a bankroll in a strange and savage land, with Kushnir having constant flashbacks to the genocide that destroyed his family.
Like a lot of Israeli movies, this privileges theme and background over style and structure, often to its detriment, but the whole thing is held together by the arresting personalities of the lead actors. Kushnir is a standout, at once threatening and endearing as the more aggressive salesman, and the constantly befuddled Ivgy is the perfect opposite to his gruff obliviousness. Their solid interplay makes you commit to some of the more expository scenes and the rather strained evocations of the ghosts of the Holocaust.
This is not to say that the film wouldn't work without them - Danny Verete's script can be very clever in suggesting how an Israeli's image of the West can be cruelly shattered - but when it hits a rough patch, the actors are there to smooth things over. And it's worth it for the scene in which the two encounter a Jewish hotelier who explains why he moved back from Israel, speaking volumes about the homelessness of Jews in whatever homeland they might find. (Equinoxe)