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Broken Wings

4.3 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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(Jul 20, 2004)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Orly Zilbershatz-Banai stars as Dafna, a mother struggling to keep her family afloat after the sudden death of their beloved father. Forced into a role of surrogate mother to her two youngest siblings, Ido and Bahr, budding songwriter Maya grudgingly tackles domestic chores and struggles to finishher education. Her more philosophical brother, Yair, declares that life is meaningless. To prove his point, he quits high school and takes a job distributing pamphlets on the metro dressed as a giant mouse. Could life become more absurd? When a terrible event strikes once again, only a miracle can save them - a miracle born of love.

An uncommonly powerful film, Broken Wings captures a family in mid-disintegration: A midwife at an Israeli hospital struggles to hold her children together in the wake of their father's death. Maya, a gaunt, pale young woman, aspires to win a band contest; Ido, a boy bullied at school, tries to film himself jumping from heights; Yair, a teenage boy, wallows in the meaninglessness of existence as he hands out flyers, dressed in a mouse costume. This may sound tedious or excruciating, but it's given vivid life by an incredible cast and a humor that manages to be absurd and a little sad at the same time. The movie embraces its characters with a profound empathy; it's hard to imagine that anyone could watch Broken Wings and not be deeply moved by the end. Not surprisingly, the movie has won numerous awards at film festivals around the world. --Bret Fetzer

Special Features

  • In Hebrew with English subtitles

Product Details

  • Actors: Orly Silbersatz Banai, Maya Maron, Nitai Gaviratz
  • Directors: Nir Bergman
  • Producers: Assaf Amir
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Letterboxed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Hebrew (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: July 20, 2004
  • Run Time: 84 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000255L98
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #105,642 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Broken Wings" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Nine short months after the sudden death of the father the Ulman family psychologically resides in the deep crevices of pain, sorrow and mourning. Juggling her job as a midwife and taking care of her four children Dafna has barely enough time or opportunity to grieve. Each child is also struggling in their own manner with their father's death that has threatened to break apart the bonds of their family.

This film is beautiful and realistic in the manner of how each character's pain is portrayed. Even though they reside under the same roof each is dealing with their own sphere of remorse. I was greatly moved by the grief that they endured. The father's death itself is rarely mentioned and the exact details of the tragedy are not revealed until towards the end.

Although this film is set in the port city of Haifa, Israel there were no mention of politics, which was quite strange since it seems that everything I hear or see concerning Israel is associated with world political affairs. For this reason alone I found this film to be refreshing as it showed the lives of "normal" Israelis away from the newspaper headlines. Recommended.
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The trauma that accompanies the sudden loss of a beloved family member is being repeated all over the Middle East today. Behind the headlines are the stories we never read about. One of these is told metaphorically in Nir Bergman's brilliant first effort Broken Wings. It is not an overtly political film, but the implications are clear. Set in the Israeli port city of Haifa, it depicts the effect of the loss of a patriarch on each member of his family, perhaps suggesting the emotional state of Israel since the murder of Yitzhak Rabin. The 83-minute film won accolades at the Berlin International Film Festival and has been a huge critical and commercial success in Israel, winning nine Israeli Academy Awards in 2003.

The beautifully expressive Maya Maron, in her first major role, plays an Israeli teenage singer-songwriter (also named Maya) who dreams of becoming a rock star, and wears wings when she sings in her local band. As the film opens, Maya is singing a song she wrote in memory of her father who died suddenly nine months earlier, for reasons not disclosed until the end of the film. Her song is interrupted when her mother Dafna (stage actress Orly Zilberschatz Banai), a nurse, phones and tells her that she has been called to work on the night shift at the local hospital and needs Maya home to take care of her brother Ido and sister Bahr. Maya emphatically refuses, then relents, but the tension between mother and daughter is palpable.

The young woman, who was with her father when he died, does not fully grasp the guilt behind her bottled-up rage, and takes out her anger on her mother, who is both sympathetic and irritating as she labors wearily to keep the family from a collision course. We learn that each family member is suffering the father's loss in his or her own way.
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Format: DVD
Its in Hebrew with English subtitles.

Now that I have either your attention or dismission, let me begin.

Nir Bergman directed this raw and touching film that crosses borders and languages with its relatability. The story could have taken place in any U.S. city, and probably has. The actors were great, particularly Orly Silbersatz Banai who played Dafna Ulman the mother, and Maya Maron who played Maya Ulman the daughter. (Who reminded me of Erin "Pixie" Cummins so much for some reason...) It's the tale of a widowed family and the hardships they encounter because of it. It's about strength and responsibility and understanding and forgiveness. It's about independence and family. It's about moving on when you need to and holding on when you should.

It is an excellent film and a must see.
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Format: DVD
"Broken Wings" is a poignant, slice-of-life drama about an Israeli family's coming to terms with the death of their father nine months earlier. The widow, Dafna, is a 43 year-old mother of four who works endless hours as a midwife at the local hospital, both to earn money to support her family as well as to avoid having to face the reality of the tragic loss she has suffered. For while she is a loving, devoted mother, she seems unable to provide the guidance and solace her children need in this time of incomprehensible grief and suffering. Thus, the children are left to cope more or less on their own as best they can - and this on top of all the problems young people face just doing the ordinary, day-to-day business of growing up. Her oldest son, Yair, has responded to his father's death by dropping out of high school and adopting a fatalistic philosophy, declaring that life is nothing more than a series of random events that mean nothing against the backdrop of an immensely vast, impersonal universe. The oldest daughter, 17 year-old Maya, has hopes of becoming a successful rock musician, but finds herself having to carry the burden of raising the two younger children while their absent mother spends most of her waking hours at work. The two youngsters, Ido and Bahr, cope with the loss of their father and the inadvertent neglect from their overworked mother in various and heartbreaking ways. The narrative is paced in such as way that we learn about the life of this family only through bits and pieces of carefully revealed information, with each scene exposing more and more about the people and their situation until ultimately a full picture emerges. In fact, it is a good half hour at least before we even know that the father is dead.Read more ›
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