America

by Ofir Raul Graizer

From the director of The Cakemaker. When a swimming coach from Chicago returns to Israel after 10 years of absence, a visit to a childhood friend and his fiancée will set a series of events in motion that will affect everyone's lives.

Eli is an Israeli swimming coach living in the United States. A phone call notifies him that his father, who he hasn't been in touch with, passed away. Eli reluctantly travels to Tel Aviv for the first time in 10 years to deal with the estate. On his short trip he decides to visit his childhood friend, Yotam. Yotam is running a small and beautiful flower shop in Jaffa, together with his fiancée Iris, a talented florist who, like Eli, is not in touch with her family. When Eli comes to visit the two, he will set in motion a series of events that will affect everyone's lives. A story set between a flower shop and an ancient monastery, between a swimming pool and the Mediterranean, between life and death - and somewhere in the middle.

Genre / Language / Length
Drama / English, Hebrew / 120 minutes
Original title
America
directed by
Ofir Raul Graizer
director of photography
Omri Aloni (THE CAKEMAKER)
screenplay by
Ofir Raul Graizer (THE CAKEMAKER)
produced by
Laila Films in co-production with Schiwago Film and Mimesis Film
Cast
  • Oshrat Ingedashet
  • Michael Moshonov (MARY MAGDALENE)
  • Ofri Biterman

Press Quotes

"Still waters run deep in Ofir Raul Graizer's new feature film, America…"
"It's a film filled with quiet moments and tender exchanges, in which even the more dramatic elements are treated with understated humanity and almost serene patience."
"Beyond its dramatic components, America has an intoxicating sensory quality, particularly in its use of colour and its handling of scent."
"All three of the lead actors excel in moments where their character just watches another…"
"Graizer's screenplay… allows the repercussions of the different narrative twists and turns not just to land as story beats, but to breathe as ethical considerations."
"Colour and aroma are not just used in such prescriptive ways, though, they create a tactility throughout the film that emphasises the connections between its characters. Those connections may at times be bittersweet, but that complexity and poignancy only add to America's charm."
The Film Verdict, Ben Nicholson

"This is that rare example of a romantic triangle where genuine, deep affection flows in all directions between the three participants."
"… Graizer and company manage to breathe fresh life into the material, concentrating squarely on the central trio—after Yotam's incapacitation, the main narrative focus shifts from Eli to Iris—and etching rounded, empathetic characterisations for each that include complex, often traumatic backstories."
Screen Daily, Neil Young

"America is another cleverly structured, psychologically complex story about relationships, holding back a well-measured amount of information to keep the viewer guessing – and, just like the director's debut, it puts a strong accent on sensuality and tactility."
"Omri Aloni's classical, wide-screen cinematography highlights bright colours that are as tangible as the film's rock-solid structure. Again, as in his debut, Grazier combines all of these elements to create a thought-provoking, complex story that is often narratively ambiguous but is emotionally crystal clear."
"One can almost smell the sage…"
Cineuropa, Vladan Petkovic

"How a chance life event can spiral to affect all those involved and have repercussions going down the years forms the pulsating core of Ofir Raul Graizier's ambitious essay about guilt, sacrifice, redemption and the bonds of friendship."
"The performances are subtly realised by the three main stars, especially Oshrat Ingedashet as Iris, the woman torn between her own history and coping with the emotional strains of the friendship between the two young men."
"With hopes and dreams dashed including those of Yotam's caring parents, the prognosis looks bleak, yet Grazier manages to nudge the narrative back on to a more optimistic note in which friendships and relationships emerge scathed but strengthened."
Eye for Film, Richard Mowe

"Unspoken desire and trauma ripple the surface of a colorful, affecting Israeli melodrama."
"Ofir Raul Graizer follows up his arthouse hit 'The Cakemaker' with a similarly appealing blend of sentimental contrivance and honest feeling."„bright, frangible”
“visually iridescent and unexpectedly buoyant“"…sincerely felt to the last. America shares this appealing quality — as well as a few parallel plot points, and a quiet, diffident queerness — with Graizer's 2017 debut The Cakemaker, and should resonate warmly with the same audience that made that film - selected as Israel's international Oscar submission - an arthouse sleeper."
"Yet America's sensual delicacy and faintly literary formality balances out its occasional reliance on stock cliché: Sometimes, it seems actively out to prove why age-old tearjerker tropes still do the job."
"Graizer largely leaves viewers to make these inferences for themselves, as we read between the lines of polite dialogue and scrutinize the quizzical gazes and weighted pauses that punctuate the principals' gracefully restrained performances."
"The contrasting vibrancy of the filmmaking, meanwhile, occasionally speaks for them, with DP Omri Aloni's primary-colored imagery taking its cue from Iris's dense, ornate flower arrangements, foregrounded song lyrics sometimes filling the characters' verbal chasms when required, and some of the most heavily implied reliance on since Smell-o-Vision had its brief day in cinemas: Never has a film projected quite so much poetry into a single crushed sage leaf, but “America” can take unexpected routes to obvious feeling."
Variety, Guy Lodge

„"America" - an Israel-Germany-Czech co-production - is the film that delighted me the most of all I saw at the 56th KVIFF.“„Israeli filmmaker Ofir Raul Graizer has a good chance of returning home this time carrying at least one Crystal Globe in the suitcase.“ „Divided, like Tarantino's films, into chapters with symbolic titles "The Hidden Gulf,"
"The Ancient Urn," etc., "America" is a sensual cinematic and cinephile experience - the director-screenwriter emphasizes evocative colors, sounds, or smells - which pays homage to classic Hollywood cinema - for example, Douglas Sirk's films. For the Israeli filmmaker, melodrama never becomes shrill, as he masters the art of dosing his narrative, of naturally transferring perspective between the main characters - all built with love and redeemed by love - as well as of subtly inserting a plot into the plot, a work of true magic. In the end, the title of the film proves to be a metaphor for the aspiration towards the ideal, for self-discovery based on reconciliation with the past. Rarely do we have a chance to see on the big screen a film that exudes as much love of cinema and life as "America" by Ofir Raul Graizer. And such a chance must not be missed.“
adevarul.ro Mihai Fulger

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