Yoni is almost thirteen and it is time for him to prepare for his Bar Mitzvah. This poses no problem for this good student. What worries him much more is his appearance and, in particular, his voice, that has earned him the nickname ‘helium’ from his classmates whose voices have already broken. By night, Yoni does pull ups with heavy weights in a bid to attain his ideal physique. But then Yoni’s older brother Tomer suddenly appears on the scene, putting an end to his familiar routine and little secrets. Tomer has spent ten years in a home for autistics. Yoni doesn’t really know his brother who has had to move back in because of the home’s closure. His reappearance represents another trial for the family and their parents’ marriage. His father, a pilot, and his mother, a nursery school teacher, have reduced their relationship to the bare minimum. But Yoni wouldn’t be Yoni if he didn’t manage to get to the bottom of his parents’ frosty relationship. His father only pretends to go to work of a morning; in reality, he was fired for drug abuse, whilst his mother it seems has been having affairs with the fathers of her charges. Under such circumstances, it’s nothing short of a miracle that Yoni manages to prepare for his Bar Mitzvah – a miracle in which his brother Tomer also plays a role. The latter is so captivated by Yoni’s exam topic – the story of Noah’s ark – that even Yoni begins to find the concept appealing of a stable ship in which to weather a great flood and the end of the world.
MABUL is based on Noa Berman-Herzberg’s screenplay for Guy Nattiv’s eponymous short film, which received a Crystal Bear at the 2002 Berlinale.
Israel / Canada / France / Germany 2010, 101 min
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