WALK ON WATER
Senior Mossad agent Eyal (Lior Ashkenazi) is charged with acting as a tour guide to visiting German, Axel (Knut Berger), who is in Tel Aviv trying to convince his sister, Pia (Carolina Peters) to return to Berlin for their father's 70th birthday. She had left the family in anger after discovering their grandfather was a Nazi war criminal. Now the ageing and dying Alfred Himmelman (Ernest lenart) has disappeared from his Argentine hide-away and Eyal's Mossad boss, Menachem (Gidon Shemer), wants to learn what the family knows about his whereabouts. Reluctantly, Eyal befriends the two young Germans and spies on them. As they get to know each other better, the conflicting ideologies and histories begin to effect a profound change in all of them - a change unleashed at the climactic birthday party.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
A complex and multi-layered screenplay that tussles with some of the most conflicted aspects of conscience gives talented Israeli filmmaker Eytan Fox a showcase opportunity to demonstrate that his terrific second feature, Yossi & Jagger (which had its Australian premiere on World Movies in February 2005), was not a fluke. Walk On Water is intelligent, gripping and nuanced, a film whose narrative is strong, whose characters are three dimensional and whose craftwork is outstanding.
The film begins with action proof that Eyal (Lior Ashkenazi) is a sophisticated agent who can kill his targets with ease. Within this opening sequence is the seed of the film's editorial point of view, as well as its resolution, but the journey is not a straight line.
The script is polished to perfection as it posits the characters into a situation that allows us insight into their histories and their personalities. Excellent performances and pacing that shifts from tension to relief and back again ensures a compelling piece of cinema. After opening the Berlin Film Festival last year, Walk On Water went on to win the Best Film Award at the Washington Jewish Film Festival, and played several other festivals - including a few Jewish fests - as well as Melbourne.
From that you might assume that the film has a solid Jewish point of view: you'd be wrong. It is the film's enormous humanity and its perhaps surprisingly balanced treatment of the incendiary triangle of German, Jew and Arab that makes it so much more relevant, meaningful and moving. Highly recommended for anyone craving for memorable cinema.
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EYTAN FOX INTERVIEW
WALK ON WATER (M)
CAST: Lior Ashkenazi, Carolina Peters, Knut Berger, Gidon Shemer, Yousef Sweid, Sivan Sasson, Adi Eisenman, Ernest Lenart
PRODUCER: Amir Harel
DIRECTOR: Eytan Fox
SCRIPT: Gal Uchovsky
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Tobias Hochstein
EDITOR: Yosef Grunfeld
MUSIC: Ivri Lider
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Avi Fahinma (Israel), Christoph Merg (Berlin)
RUNNING TIME: 104 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Sharmill Champion
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 5, 2005