Magazine article Screen International

One Week and a Day': Cannes Review

Magazine article Screen International

One Week and a Day': Cannes Review

Article excerpt

Dir: Asaph Polonsky. Israel. 2016. 98mins

There is an abrasive, snarling humour to this impressive first feature from US-born, Israeli-raised writer-director Asaph Polonsky. It occasionally evokes something of the simmering rage that powers the comedy of television show Curb Your Enthusiasm. So when this portrait of a couple mourning the recent death of their son delivers its emotional payload in the third act, it is an unexpectedly devastating moment which more than makes up for the slight dip in momentum which came before.

This is an accomplished debut which juggles its tonal contrasts adroitly. A tragicomic stoner movie about bereavement, it is a curiosity which should pique the interest of festival audiences and could enjoy some theatrical success if backed by critical support and audience word of mouth.

The title refers to the traditional Jewish week of mourning, known as Shiva, which follows immediately after the funeral of the deceased and takes place at the home of an immediate family member. In this case, the home is that of Eyal (Shai Avivi) and Vicky Spivak (Evgenia Dodina), who are coping with the aftermath of their son's death from cancer in starkly contrasting ways. Vicky, numbed by grief, is clinging to the quotidian routines of normal life to keep afloat. Eyal, the main focus of the film, is rather more unpredictable. Clearly suffering from temporary impulse control issues, he slaps his female neighbour, brawls with her husband and decides to blaze a trail through the large bag of medicinal marijuana that he retrieves from the hospice when looking for his son's missing blanket. …

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