Monday, April 27, 2015

Be Afraid of BIG BAD WOLVES

BIG BAD WOLVES, directed by Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado, is, on the surface, an Israeli slasher film in the vein of the SAW pictures, called by Quentin Tarantino "Not only is this the best film in [the] Busan [International Film Festival], this is the best film of the year [2013]."  Micki (Lior Ashkenazi) plays a police officer on the trail of a child serial killer.  The film begins with he and a few garden variety tough guy cops kidnapping and brutalizing Dror (Rotem Keinan), a school teacher suspected of these crimes.  Things take a turn for the worse when a father of one of the victims,  Gidi (Tzahi Grad), takes justice into his own hands.
However, what makes this film impressive is the way it tacitly addresses the torture of Palestinians.  Several times in the film, a Palestinian on horseback, played by Kais Nashif, appears enigmatically from nowhere.  Meanwhile, a vengeful father tortures the man he suspects of murdering his daughter. This point is brought right home when Nashif, when asked for a cellular phone, replies "Why not?  Because we're primitive?"  Kesahles and Papushado have made an intelligent film that is able to make one think about difficult issues and even evokes empathy for torture victims, something a film like ZERO DARK THIRTY was unable to do.

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