Dominic Ambrose Blogblot

of words: narrative, film and non-fiction

Vasermil. That’s the name of a soccer stadium. Film Review

Thessaloniki Film Festival, 2007
Vasermil. Written and directed by Mushon Salmona. Israel, 2007. A loosely connected group of young people live lost in a working class district. They come together in unexpected ways, forced to interact and to make peace with each other in spite of themselves. This unnamed Israeli city, where families have fallen apart and unemployment, drugs and casual cruelties create endless troubles, is home to the three families seen in the story: an Ethiopian mother and her two sons, a Russian immigrant woman and her unemployed and abusive husband and their teenaged son, and a more traditional Israeli mother with an unpleasant boyfriend and her two sons and daughter. Three sons come together on the high school soccer team, when two of them are forced to play as part of disciplinary actions.
The film has a montage structure, with scenes juxtaposed rather than sequenced. Although there are many scenes of violent confrontation and conflict, these are not coherently connected, and do not give the story any sense of rising tension. The scenes follow the characters rather aimlessly from one set of complications to the next, as though the cameraman had just waited on the street to see who would pass by next. This is a shame because there are many situations in the film with a built in ability to provide some real drama and suspense, yet they are never used to their potential. The confrontation between the Israeli teenager and his marginally psychotic boss at a pizza parlor is allowed to simply evaporate, the disappearance of the younger Ethiopian brother ends with him being found after the simplest search. The major problem, the build up to the final soccer game, which serves as the film’s faintly ticking clock, is left to wind down to a barely perceptible stop, and the drug dealing of the Russian youth is presented with no real dramatic flair. Other elements are left totally unexplained, the character who wanders through the streets shouting for his sister, the hints of lechery coming from the Israeli mother’s boyfriend in the next room, the revenge of the pizza boss, all come to naught.

It is an interesting film for the peek into the more troubled corners of Israeli society, and it is graced by some good acting. However, it would have been far more interesting if it had been a bit more articulate and goal oriented.

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May 9, 2009 - Posted by | cinema | , , ,

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