TJFF 2018: Our Review of ‘Longing’

TJFF 2018: Our Review of ‘Longing’

Ariel Bloch (Shai Avivi) hears about the death of Adam, the teenage son he never knew. With that news, he takes a sabbatical from his job. He drives to Acre and slowly but surely loses his sanity.

Longing jumps off from this broad premise. It eventually makes Ariel go on a fact finding mission on what his son is like. He learns each and every one of his son’s unconscionable actions that he staunchly defends.

I’m ambivalent towards Avivi here as he gives the performance that surrealist writer and director Savi Gabizon wants. The former says his lines with almost a stone face that it seems that he’s endorsing his unsympathetic character.

The movie is basically one of Ariel’s awkward conversations about Adam (Adam Gabay) after another. With these conversations we discover that Adam manipulates people from beyond. Adam exploits the women in his life, a behaviour that Ariel allows.

One of these women is Adam’s teacher Yael (Neta Riskin), who he has a crush on. Adam’s mother Ronit (Assi Levy) is on his side. She blames Yael for leading him on instead of resenting his actions.

The film occasionally goes into moments when other characters laugh at Ariel’s absurd demands. I kept hoping that these characters would snap Ariel back into reality. Something like this needed to happen here but unfortuntaely, it doesn’t.

During Ariel’s visits to Adam’s grave he meets Gideon (Yoram Toledano) who is also a man mourning a teenage child. Gideon inadvertently gives Ariel an idea that might make ‘Adam’ forget Yael which is ridiculous because he’s dead.

That idea, by the way, is something that Gideon got from Chinese immigrants working on his farm. I am not going to even bother explaining what that idea is because it’s that dumb and even borderline offensive.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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