Contemporary World Cinema

Longing

Savi Gabizon

Longing 01

A middle-aged Israeli bachelor is forced to evaluate his life choices when he discovers an ex-girlfriend had given birth to his son 20 years before, in this affecting drama from writer-director Savi Gabizon.

At first glance, middle-aged Ariel has it made: established, well-to-do, single, and no apparent worries. One day, after decades without contact, his college girlfriend Ronit invites him to lunch. She has something she finally needs to tell him: when they broke up 20 years ago, she was pregnant and gave birth to a boy. But that eye-opener is only the first in a series of winding revelations that will have unpredictable consequences for people Ariel has yet to meet and for his own understanding of himself and his world.

Writer-director Savi Gabizon creates a narrative around one of the most inventive and challenging character arcs of the year. For Ariel, the days immediately following Ronit's disclosures are filled with activity, both literal and emotional. His need to know about a son he never knew he had (and certainly never thought he might have wanted) propels him into communities, families, and circumstances that are foreign and unexpected. Plunging himself into these tumultuous unknown waters causes him to reflect on what he might have had — if it had occurred to him to pursue it.

Winner of the 2017 Jerusalem Film Festival Audience award, Longing explores the corners of the human heart from unique angles. Fuelled by remarkable, rich performances from two of Israel's most accomplished actors, Shai Avivi as Ariel, and Asi Levi (Wedding Doll, TIFF '15) as Ronit, Gabizon's film is a deep, moving black comedy that speaks to the... yes… longing, in all of us.

JANE SCHOETTLE

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