Located off one of Jaffa’s narrow, dusty streets, Reuven’s Garage is a family affair. Reuven (beloved Israeli actor Moni Moshonov) hopes to leave the business to his eldest child, Meir, but is beginning to acknowledge that his venomous, volatile son is not to be trusted. Meanwhile, Reuven’s dutiful daughter, Mali, the garage’s receptionist, is deceiving her family by engaging in a love affair with Toufik, the Palestinian auto mechanic who works for Reuven alongside his father. An explosive argument between Meir and his myopic mother, Ossi (the magnificent Ronit Elkabetz), sets off a chain of events that shatters the lives of all. Director and co-writer Keren Yedaya—whose previous film, Or, screened at SFJFF in 2005—has created an accessible drama that refuses to flinch at the political and interpersonal landmines that her characters must navigate. Jaffa, an official selection at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, is a gut-wrenching allegory in which a family consumed by fear, lies, denial and rage reflects a larger truth about the corrosive nature of Israeli-Palestinian relations. The film showcases a raw, understated performance by Dana Ivgy (star of Or) as Mali. Mali’s choices suggest healing is possible, as does Yedaya’s choice to set the action in Jaffa, the crumbling but still beautiful port city where Israeli Jews and Arabs live side-by-side.
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