Footnote, Blu-ray (2012)

by | Jul 27, 2012 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews

Footnote, Blu-ray (2012)
Director: Joseph Cedar
Cast: Shlomo Bar-Aba, Lior Ashkenazi, Yuval Scharf
Studio: Israeli Film Fund/Sony Pictures Home Entertainemt 40078 [7/24/12]
Video: 2.35:1 anamorphic/enhanced 1080p HD
Audio: Hebrew DTS-HD MA 5.1

Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Extras: Behind the Scenes, An Evening with Joseph Cedar, Previews
Length: 103 minutes
Rating: ****½

Footnote won the 2011 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and has been shown at many leading film festivals. It’s certainly far from an action picture; is highly intellectual and about detailed academic scholarly research and the mysteries of competition within the family. It’s a sort of satire on intellect and domestic friction that sometimes achieves high suspense due to the fine acting of all involved.
Eliezer, a crotchety, cranky and perhaps semi-autistic elderly professor of Talmudic studies at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University has been passed over for 20 years for recognition.  His son Uriel, however, also teaches at the university and has received wide acclaim for his more popular approach to Talmudic study, including publishing several books. The father feels that everything his son is doing is antithetic to what he himself has devoted himself to all his long life.
Things come to a head when the prestigious board of the university decides to award the coveted Israel Prize—the nation’s most valuable honor for scholarship—to Uriel. However, due to a mixup on phone numbers, someone calls the father first and tells him he has won the Prize. The son is pleased to see his father’s accomplishments finally getting validation, but as the situation becomes increasingly complicated, he has to choose between his own advancement and that of his father.  The two become engaged in a bitter confrontation, involving all members of their family. Another crotchety professor, who has long harbored a thoroughly negative opinion of Eliezer, is the main hurdle Uriel has to convince to award the Prize to his father after all instead of to him.
The drama is leavened by some droll humor touches. For example, the meeting room where the board has the son come in to explain about the mixup, is too small, and every time Uriel has to enter or leave some people have to get up and move chairs around, etc.  Another sidelight is the constant TSA-type security inspections that Israelis have to endure many times in their day.
—John Sunier

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