Magazine article Tablet Magazine

A Golden Bear for Israel

Magazine article Tablet Magazine

A Golden Bear for Israel

Article excerpt

For the first time in the Berlinale's nearly 70-year history, an Israeli film, Nadav Lapid's Synonyms, has won the Golden Bear, the festival's coveted top prize. A French-Israeli coproduction, Synonyms is an existential tragicomedy about Yoav, a young Israeli who moves to Paris and, with the help of little more than a pocket dictionary, sets out to become French. He repudiates the Hebrew language, insisting even on answering his Israeli friends, including his superiors at the Israeli Embassy where he is briefly employed, in French. He cuts off all ties with his family, refusing to meet with his father when he unexpectedly calls from Charles de Gaulle Airport. He befriends a fashionable, idle French couple who save him from freezing in an empty bathtub after his worldly possessions, including his clothing, are stolen from his Airbnb immediately after he arrives in Paris. Eventually Yoav marries one of them to gain citizenship. …

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