Aliyah

| 88 mins | ,

Dimpled, handsome Alex needs a break from his life as a small-time drug dealer, and from constantly cleaning up the much bigger messes of his deceitful older brother Isaac (French filmmaker Cédric Kahn). At Friday night dinner, cousin Nathan, visiting from Israel, reveals his plans to open a restaurant there. For Alex, the venture offers a way out. No more dealing. No more bailing out Isaac. No chance he’ll see his ex-girlfriend with her fiancé. But nothing is ever clear cut. Jeanne, a non-Jewish friend of his ex, is also invited for dinner. She falls for Alex and the attraction is mutual. And there’s a bigger problem. Alex needs to buy into Nathan’s restaurant in Tel Aviv. That means amping up the dealing from hash to cocaine. His best friend Mathias proves to be a much-needed link to funding Alex’s aliyah, or immigration to Israel. In this gripping story of betrayal, ambient sound creates a realistic, gritty view of life in Paris and its tougher suburbs, and background music alternates between Schoenberg and Sixto Rodríguez’s “Sugar Man.” Filmmaker Elie Wajeman’s debut feature looks closely at one type of new immigrant to Israel and deservedly earned him a berth in the 2012 Cannes Film Festival’s Directors’ Fortnight.

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