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Sunday, May 3, 2015

ALYAH / ALIYAH (2012)

In this debut feature from Elie Wajeman, Pio Marmaï is Alex Raphaelson, a small-time recreational drug-dealer in Paris, pushing thirty and trying to turn his life around before running out of options & boyish charm. With an estranged father and a hard-luck brother always desperate for cash, Alex grabs at the chance to join a cousin who’s moving to Tel Aviv to open a restaurant/club. But to make the ‘aliyah,’ the immigration to Israel, Alex will have to connect with the Jewish identity he’s spent most of life ignoring. Worse, he’ll need to raise his share of the financial investment which means stepping up on his casual drug operation, as well as cutting off a serious new romance. Shot in semi-documentary style with natural light & hand-held digital camera, Wajeman’s delivery has a believable feel to it, but seems unaware its principals are such a collection of self-centered schmucks.* It makes the on screen relationships tough to swallow and the film impossible to emotionally invest in.

SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: *Then again, Alex’s gentile love interest, a typical sexy, pouty-lipped blonde, may have her ‘schmuck-alert’ in working order since she speaks of missing his ‘little hatless dick.’ Ah, those French ingénues, so passionate . . . so blunt.

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