Noa (Achinoam Nini), a popular Israeli singer of Yemenite descent, prepares for a concert in Jerusalem. She is interrupted by an old Arab man who claims to have been a close friend her ...
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Noa (Achinoam Nini), a popular Israeli singer of Yemenite descent, prepares for a concert in Jerusalem. She is interrupted by an old Arab man who claims to have been a close friend her great grandmother. He tells her about Mazal, a Jewish child-bride (Hadar Ozeri) from Yemen, who preserves her religion, culture, family and her unique art, surviving the harsh, violent conditions of Jerusalem and the Holy Land in the late 19th through the mid-20th centuries. She becomes the mother of two, a young widow (Galit Giat), and the family's breadwinner through her skills as a jeweler in gold and silver. In time, a woman of property (Timna Brauer) and an ardent patriot, she prevails through the unfolding bloody decades while living in the Old City of Jerusalem. She heads a family of extraordinary, unforgettable characters and grows old in strength and determination, remaining true to her traditions and ideals.Written by
Robert M. Bleiweiss
The movie traces a hundred years or so in the life of a Yemenite-Israeli family. It centers on a favorite cliché anachronism, a free-spirited woman who successfully makes her own place by challenging the paternalistic social order of her times. No one dwells on the cliché, though. In fact, no one dwells much on anything. There is no time for subtle characterization, but the actors work confidently, at least to the extent that their command of English allows. The film's funding came from an American benefactor, and filming in English was a requirement although the cast is Israeli. Forty years ago they would have dubbed the voices. The problem of language can't ruin the visual side, which is very nicely handled although I think maybe the everyday peasant costumes were a mite too colorful. Surprisingly, almost no one in Israel bothered to come see this movie. Maybe they didn't like to see their nation's pre-history portrayed in such clichéd romantic terms, or maybe the language discordance was a game-killer. But I can see the movie appealing to English-speaking women who like historical dramas... if the marketers could reach them.
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