One of the most provocative and vital directors working in Israeli cinema today, Nadav Lapid returns to discomfit audiences in his latest feature film. Fresh from the international festival circuit that included stops in Cannes (co-winner of the jury prize), Toronto and New York, Ahed’s Knee is a radically visceral experience.
With the death of his beloved mother imminent and facing challenges with the casting of his film on the life of Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi, a filmmaker known only as Y, travels to the desolate Arava Valley to present one of his films as a distraction. Welcomed warmly by Yahalom, the Deputy Director of the Ministry of Culture, Yahalom is young, sincere, and eager to please Y, but first things first, would he please sign a waiver indicating that he will only speak about certain state sanctioned topics. Enraged at what he perceives to be an ugly and insidious overreach, Y is compelled to expose the underlying hypocrisy of the institution, but can only do so by sacrificing Yahalom.
With purposefully destabilizing close-ups, random flights of fancy, whip pans, and off kilter framing, Lapid’s audaciously immersive style begs to be experienced. Joy, despair, love and hate, Ahed’s Knee passionately implores you to pick a side.
Nadav Lapid is a director and writer from Tel Aviv. His debut feature, Policeman (11), won more than 10 awards in international film festivals. His second feature, The Kindergarten Teacher (14), premiered at Cannes and was the basis for the 2018 film of the same name by Sara Colangelo, which played the Festival. His two most recent films, Synonyms (19) and Ahed’s Knee (21), are also Festival selections.