Wednesday, July 02, 2014

The Other Son

The Other Son is an intense, emotional film set in Israel and Palestine (there's a great deal of coming and going across the border between the two areas, and many views of the wall), and it's quite a tear-jerker, though in best sense.

It has a slightly improbable story, perhaps (although the starting point of the story is as old as the hills): two babies are literally swapped at birth because of fears of a Scud attack.One baby is Jewish but is given back to the Palestinian mother, and the other baby, of course, is Palestinian, and given back to the Jewish mother.This only comes to light when the 'Jewish' boy is about to turn eighteen and a blood test reveals that he couldn't possibly be the son of his parents. The other parents are informed, and there's a great deal of struggling to come to grips with the issue, both on the part of the two young men, but even more so on the part of the fathers. The mothers manage to begin to work through the problem much quicker than their husbands, of course, but even for them it's a major upheaval.

There are four languages spoken in the film: Hebrew, Arabic, English and French - the Jewish father is French by birth, and it appears that the family has spent some time there, but the 'Arab' boy has also been studying there.

The director is Lorraine Lévy, who also co-wrote the screenplay. She makes a fine job of bringing out the emotional aspects of the story (there's little 'action' in it), and is supported by a wonderful cast, all of whom are unknown to me, though plainly very experienced. When you see foreign movies you realise again and again what a vast world of actors, directors, writers there is out there whom we barely know about. We're so inundated with Hollywood and British movies and TV that we remain quite insular. 

This is a great story, and well worth catching up with. There's an interesting interview with the director here.
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