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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones

Israeli Film: Walk on Water

I have a well documented weakness for Israeli men speaking hebrew. Maybe not well-documented, because when I spent the most time with Hebrew speaking Israeli men, they were co-workers. To wax poetic about their good looks, great demeanors, and sexy accents while I was their supervisor would have caused a small headache.

I loved it when Udi would come in and Assaf would start to explain a situation in english, turn to me and say, “I’m sorry, I’m going to tell him in Hebrew. Is more easy.” Then I’d just stand there and listen to them speak Hebrew, not understand a word, but love the rhythm and sound. Plus they were so damn cute.

Needless to say, when I found out that Walk on Water–an Israeli film–was coming to Chicago, I made quick plans to go and see it. Ronnie agreed to sit in the uncomfortable Music Box seats with me again. This didn’t take as much convincing as the Argentine film we saw a few weeks ago.

I enjoyed it and even understood one part of the dialogue. Menachem said to Eyal, “Lech!” Lech means “go” and I only know it because that it was G-d said to Abraham, “Lech l’cha” which means, “go, go forth.” It is kind of how the whole jewish thing started.

Anyway.

I enjoyed the movie, especially the seamless transitions between Hebrew, English, and German. Instead of films where the characters speak english with a german accent, when it fit for them to speak german, they spoke german. When Hebrew was realistic, they spoke Hebrew. Most often, though, the lingua franca was English.

Ronnie said the lead’s acting was better in English than in Hebrew, but since I don’t speak Hebrew yet, I couldn’t tell. His complaint was that he didn’t show emotion, but the character is an assasin–he has no emotions.

My main complaint was that the director put a Hollywood ending on it. He wrapped it up with a three minute happy ending. Baby, marriage, kibbutz, and one dead Nazi. The rest of it, I enjoyed. The themes are new to me–things I have to learn about. Zionism, the Shoah, how young jews (and germans and arabs) deal with 50 year old conflicts.

My favorite scenes were with a female agent from the Mossad. She is (to my eyes) obviously hitting on him, even though she has maybe 5 lines of dialogue in the whole movie. She comes to his apartment to drop off a disc towards the end. “Menachem asked me to drop these off.” Then she stands there and he asks if there is anything else. “No. If I can’t be of any more service, I’ll leave.” Then he shuts the door. He has this look of, “Wait. Could I have just gotten some action? No, that’s crazy.” We know NOTHING about the female agent, their history together, or anything. They have three scenes together in the entire movie. I loved it, it was subtle and hilarious to me.

The scenes of just Eyal and Axel are also pretty funny, in an awkward homo-erotic sort of way. Eyal doesn’t know Axel is gay and hilarity and hijinks ensue. I love the super serious conversation while they are covered in dead sea mud and wearing their underwear. To see this Assasin covered in mud and wearing tightie whities on the beach of the Dead Sea, while having a serious conversation.

During the scenes that included pop Israeli culture, I couldn’t help but wonder if that is what it feels like to be in Tel Aviv or Jeruselam (no spell checker, sorry). Or to live on a Kibbutz or go to the wailing wall. A friend who lived on a Kibbutz told me about being in a disco when a bomb exploded outside. They kept dancing and just thought it was the sub-woofer and a good beat.

So even though I KNOW that Israel is a modern country (all of my Israeli boys in London were DJs), I’m always surprised to see modern images of neon lights and night clubs. I guess I’ll just have to lie about my age and go on a Birthright Israel tour. After all, in jewish years, I’m only 4 months old.

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