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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars outstanding Israeli character study and family drama
"Footnote" (107 min.) is a 2011 movie out of Israel. It brings the rather complicated but intruiging story of a father and son who both are scholars and researchers at the Talmud Department of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. As it happens, the son is actually more successful and the movie starts out with the son's acceptance speech upon getting elected into the...
Published on April 14, 2012 by Paul Allaer

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad ...
... but the main character is such a shriveled shrew of a man that it's hard to care about him. They could have redeemed him with an ending, any ending, but they botched it, as in so many other films. Ambiguity is considered to be more artistic. Oh, well ...
Published 3 months ago by vta


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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars outstanding Israeli character study and family drama, April 14, 2012
This review is from: Footnote (DVD)
"Footnote" (107 min.) is a 2011 movie out of Israel. It brings the rather complicated but intruiging story of a father and son who both are scholars and researchers at the Talmud Department of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. As it happens, the son is actually more successful and the movie starts out with the son's acceptance speech upon getting elected into the Israeli Academy of Science and Humanities. Remarkably, we don't actually see the son but instead the camera focuses the entire sequence (probably 3-4 min.) only on the father, who seemingly is shell-shocked and/or confused and/or resentful at the ever-growing successes of his son. Then, about 30 min. into the movie, the father gets the call from the Israeli Department of Education that he'd been waiting to get for 20 years: he's been chosen to receive the prestigious Israeli Prize. Happiness turns to potential disaster when the son gets called by the Israeli Prize Committee the very next day with the bombshell that due to a clerical error, it was he who had been chosen for the Israeli Prize, not his dad!

I don't want to spoil more from the plot, and the movie then really takes off and you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out. The movie offers an excellent character sturdy of both father and son, looking at it from both a generational perspective as well as a scholary difference in how each is doing research.

This movie was one of the 5 nominees for this year's Oscar for Best Foreign Movie (Iran's "A Separation" won the Oscar), and rightfully so. This is the complete antitode to Hollywood's mainstream fare such as "John Carter" or "Wrath of the Titans" in that it is an intellectually challenging movie. The lead performances of Shlomo Bar Aba as the father and Lior Ashkenazi as the son are nothing short of outstanding. I was pleasantly surprised to see how many people were in the theatre when I saw the movie this weekend here in Cincinnati, giving me hope thia may reach a wider audience. Meanwhile, "Footnote" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very fine film - only flaw is an unsatisfying ending, April 29, 2012
By 
Andres C. Salama (Buenos Aires, Argentina) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Footnote (DVD)
This bittersweet comedy from Israeli is set in the rarefied world of academia and is a fine, interesting movie about the bitter relationship between a father and a son who both happen to be Talmudic scholars working at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and how their rivalry finally overcomes their filial obligations.

Eliezer Shkolnik (a terrific performance by Shlomo Bar Aba) is the father, and he seems a personification of male old age grumpiness. He looks at the at the rest of his colleagues with an insufferable air of intellectual superiority, and believes he hasn't been recognized to the extent that he deserves, yet the movie hints he is a bit of a fraud himself, his main claim to academic fame is having been thanked in a footnote in a book by a famous Talmudic authority. The more successful Uriel (Lior Ashkenazi, who usually plays young macho men, but here plays a middle aged academic against type), is the son. The film lampoons him for being a lightweight scholar and for being too attracted to the media spotlight, yet he seems to be the more psychologically rounded of the two. The tense relationship between father and son finally comes to a bitter confrontation when the elder Shkolnik is mistakenly awarded an important academic prize that was meant for the son (I'm not going to reveal anything else about the plot).

I'm also obviously not going to reveal the ending but it seems underwhelming and unrealized, as if the director Joseph Cedar didn't knew how to end the movie. Thus, what was a fine film until then ends in a curiously unsatisfying way. Nevertheless, this is a fine movie with many great scenes. I especially liked two scenes: one is set in a small but packed conference room and ends when one academic shoves another to the wall. In the second scene, a very pretty female journalist goes to the home of the elder Shkolnik to interview him and manages to get him to say very nasty things about his son.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Role Reversal and Time Lapse, August 4, 2012
By 
This review is from: Footnote (DVD)
FOOTNOTE is an appropriately titled sparklingly intelligent and entertaining film written and directed by Joseph Cedar. With a small cast and a focused story this little film form Israel is not only a pleasure to watch as a story performed as shared by brilliant actors, but it is also one of the most visually artistic and creative venture of cinematography to be on the small screen in a long time: the genius cinematographer is Yaron Scharf. Add to this a musical score that enhances every moment of the story - courtesy of composer Amit Poznansky - and the film simply succeeds on every level.

In a most ingenious way we are introduced to the two main characters - father and son, both professors in the Talmud department of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The film opens on the confused and somewhat unattached facial expression of the seated father Eliezer Shkolnik (Shlomo Bar Aba) as he listens to his ebullient son Uriel Shkolnik (Lior Ashkenazi) being inducted into the prestigious Israeli academic union. Uriel's acceptance speech reflects his childhood when his father informed him upon questioning that he was a `teacher' - an occupation the young Uriel found embarrassing at the time, but now honors his father for this guidance. After the ceremony we slowly discover that there is a long-standing rivalry between father and son. Uriel has an addictive dependency on the embrace and accolades that the establishment provides, while Eliezer is a stubborn purist with a fear and profound revulsion for what the establishment stands for, yet beneath his contempt lies a desperate thirst for some kind of recognition: his only clam to fame after long years of intensive research is that the man who published his findings mentions Eliezer in a footnote. When it comes times for the Israel Prize, Israel's most prestigious national award, to be awarded, a clerical error results in a telephone call informing Eliezer that he has won, while in reality the award was meant for his son Uriel. How this error is resolved open all manner of windows for examining family relationships, fame, pure academia, and forgiveness.

The film is an unqualified success. Lior Ashkenazi (so well remembered from `Walk on Water' and `Late Marriage' among others) gives a bravura performance and that of Shlomo Ben Aba balances it in quality. The supporting cast is strong. Joseph Cedar has produced a fine film very much enhanced by the brilliance of the cinematography that tells the story as much as the dialogue. Grady Harp, August 12
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Joseph Cedar's "Footnote" is indeed bittersweet, thought provoking and for the most part, clever and compelling., November 29, 2012
This review is from: Footnote [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
In 2011, director/writer Joseph Cedar ("Ha-Hesder", "Campfire", "Beaufort") released his film "Footnote" starring Lior Ashkenazi and Shlomo Bar-Aba.

A film about a troubled family relationship between father and son who both teach at the Talmud department of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. A school which Joseph Cedar studied philosophy and history before graduating New York University's film school.

The film would win the "Best Screenplay Award" at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, win nine prizes at the 2011 Ophir Awards and would become the official entry from Israel for the 84th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film.

VIDEO:

"Footnote" is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:35:1 Aspect Ratio). Picture quality for "Footnote" is excellent with amazing detail and clarity, especially of the closeups of the cast, the use of colors and the really good positioning of characters and lighting, "Footnote" looks great on Blu-ray!

During my viewing, I didn't notice any artifacts or banding. If anything, "Footnote" is another film from Sony Pictures Classics that looks awesome on Blu-ray!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

"Footnote" is presented in Hebrew, Portuguese 5.1 DTS-HD MA. The film is primarily dialogue driven. There are moments of crowd ambiance through the surround channels, but for the most part, this film is dialogue and music and is center-channel and front channel driven and lossless audio is crystal clear!

Subtitles are in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese.

SPECIAL FEATURES

"Footnote" comes with the following special features:

Behind the Scenes of Joseph Cedar's Film: Footnote - (24:00) Featuring the making of "Footnote" with behind-the-scenes footage.
An Evening with Joseph Cedar - (9:35) A live Q&A with director/writer Joseph Cedar.
Theatrical Trailer - (1:58) Theatrical trailer for "Footnote".

JUDGMENT CALL:

"Footnote" is a very smart and clever film. And the film no doubt spotlights on the conundrum between father and son and problem of father receiving an award meant for the son, and the son having to break the news to him.

Director and writer Joseph Cedar manages to take these two individuals, who are literally complete opposites but yet are blood related and gives us somewhat of a comedic take, especially when revolving around Eliezer. A Narcissistic individual that seems very bitter that his son has achieved grand success for his type of research, that goes everything against what Eliezer believes in.

But where the film becomes quite exciting is to see Uriel, a man who has accomplished so much but a man who cares for his father, despite the father not exactly doing the same for him. Uriel defends his father against his rival but at the same time, the more he looks into his father's work, he realizes that his work is not that good and therefore, his peers have not supported him.

While Uriel has received many accolades for his work, his father has nothing but a footnote. And the film revolves around this problematic situation of how Uriel will respond to the error of his father being given the Israel Prize. A prize that Uriel and his father have both dreamed of having.

But it's a double-edge sword with an unfortunate twist which may leave those viewing this film, fulfilled or unfulfilled, depending on which character you sympathize for.

I enjoyed "Footnote" because of Joseph Cedar's clever and really smart writing. The film does showcase how things are behind-the-scenes among scholars, especially when it comes to voting for a prize of who is worthy, who isn't and blocking individuals from awards due to spite.

While the film does feature Talmudic teachings, one is not expected to be an erudite to comprehend Jewish culture, if anything, anyone can understand strained relations between father and son but also the importance of family.

While the acting by Lior Ashkenzi and Shlomo Bar-Aba are wonderful, it's the attention to detail of Joseph Cedar's screenplay that captivates your attention. Cedar is specific on details and to help balance the film is the cinematography of Yaron Scharf. Scharf was able to capture the conflict and together, both men achieve efficacy because it is a film that not only is a comedy, but spotlights on conflict and an intriguing twist, that spotlights on the conflict.

Without spoiling the ending of the film, the ending of the film will surely leave viewers feeling content or disappointed.

Joseph Cedar's "Footnote" is indeed bittersweet, thought provoking and for the most part, clever and compelling. Recommended!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heharat Shulaim/Footnote, August 4, 2012
By 
FOOTNOTE (HEHARAT SHULAIM in Hebrew) is an appropriately titled sparklingly intelligent and entertaining film written and directed by Joseph Cedar. With a small cast and a focused story this little film form Israel is not only a pleasure to watch as a story performed as shared by brilliant actors, but it is also one of the most visually artistic and creative venture of cinematography to be on the small screen in a long time: the genius cinematographer is Yaron Scharf. Add to this a musical score that enhances every moment of the story - courtesy of composer Amit Poznansky - and the film simply succeeds on every level.

In a most ingenious way we are introduced to the two main characters - father and son, both professors in the Talmud department of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The film opens on the confused and somewhat unattached facial expression of the seated father Eliezer Shkolnik (Shlomo Bar Aba) as he listens to his ebullient son Uriel Shkolnik (Lior Ashkenazi) being inducted into the prestigious Israeli academic union. Uriel's acceptance speech reflects his childhood when his father informed him upon questioning that he was a `teacher' - an occupation the young Uriel found embarrassing at the time, but now honors his father for this guidance. After the ceremony we slowly discover that there is a long-standing rivalry between father and son. Uriel has an addictive dependency on the embrace and accolades that the establishment provides, while Eliezer is a stubborn purist with a fear and profound revulsion for what the establishment stands for, yet beneath his contempt lies a desperate thirst for some kind of recognition: his only clam to fame after long years of intensive research is that the man who published his findings mentions Eliezer in a footnote. When it comes times for the Israel Prize, Israel's most prestigious national award, to be awarded, a clerical error results in a telephone call informing Eliezer that he has won, while in reality the award was meant for his son Uriel. How this error is resolved open all manner of windows for examining family relationships, fame, pure academia, and forgiveness.

The film is an unqualified success. Lior Ashkenazi (so well remembered from `Walk on Water' and `Late Marriage' among others) gives a bravura performance and that of Shlomo Ben Aba balances it in quality. The supporting cast is strong. Joseph Cedar has produced a fine film very much enhanced by the brilliance of the cinematography that tells the story as much as the dialogue. In Hebrew with English subtitles. Grady Harp, August 12
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful performances...excellent storyline!, February 14, 2013
By 
⚫ RIZZO ⚫ (Denver Metro Area) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Footnote (DVD)
One important note for this film, which has been deemed "witty", "funny and smart" ?? No, this is neither. There is a soundtrack that reveals more on the fun, playful tune, but the film is more of an emotional drama, and never once did I find it funny, witty, or smart!

Another significant note is that you may need to view this twice to absorb the impact the film reveals. Watching foreign film requires reading the text, without special attention to the characters' faces. Therefore, one can miss a whole lot when this occurs.

This was a brilliant film, one that examines the scholarly competition between two Professors, a father and his son, and both have chosen the same field. The film was chosen as a nominee for an Academy Award 2011, but lost to Iran's "A Separation". The characters are profound, especially Elizier, who, added to his bitterness, exhibits a constant scowl on his face. He does not say much, his face is very telling, while the moods are evident. Equally done well is the performance of his son, Uriel. Wonderful performances, excellent casting.

There is certainly a difference in the method of directing for the storyline. Some revealing facts are not cut and dried or drawn out through the normal storyline. We learn a lot by what has been said by others.

A professor at the Hebrew University, Elizier Shkolnik has been overlooked for the coveted and honorable Israel Prize and has worked on Telmudic research for 30 years. His life's work and life's dedication has been diminished to a "footnote" in a research paper. When his son, also a Talmudic scholar receives the award, and the award is mistakenly given to the father, we see the great lengths a son will do for his bitter, disconnected father. And, we see how a man, bitter through years, responds to his son, an unintended rival.

One notable director's scene, well done was when Elizier Shkolnik was being interviewed on his achievement, he callously demeaned his son's work. On the other end, son Uriel, when asked to write the nomination/consideration of his father, desperately tryed to come up with something good about father's achievement. The contrast was stark and befitting.

Again, if you are like me, who can't capture everything while reading, you need to see this twice. It's clear why this was chosen as an Academy Award nominee. Rizzo
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars families who follow the same career path....not a bed of roses, December 22, 2012
This review is from: Footnote (DVD)
The plot of this film is fairly universal in that many families want the children to follow in the footsteps of the parent both professionally and personally. That both father and son would choose being professors of Talmudic studies in Israel makes for a fair amount of tension in this study. It is a dramedy, part comedy and part drama. I think the drama dominates it in the last half whereas the front half has some fine humorous moments.

Specifically, what is causing this tension is that the father has been passed over for a lot of honors which the son is now receiving. (The son has extensively published whereas the father has not; this is always a problem in the academic world as publishing is the holy grail in that world.) The son has a huge family of his own and ironically he has problems with his own son as well. Whereas his own father resents his ambition and success, he is mad at his son for lack of ambition!

All in all this is a very good study of how families work. If one assumes that families get along even when one models one's life on one's parent, that proves to not be a correct assumption!

This unfolds at the more leisurely pace one is accustomed to viewing in foreign films so some Americans may find its pacing slow in comparison to American films.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superlative Israeli film making, October 8, 2012
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This review is from: Footnote (DVD)
Footnote is directed by American born Israeli film maker Josef Cedar {"Beaufort"). Shlomo Bar'aba's name is an error in the title, he's one of the stellar cast. The film tells the story of Israeli academic institutional rivalry and error, of the rarefied atmosphere of ancient text study. of assiduous analysis and the perception of populist conjectures, between a father and son. It is superbly acted,and directed to a degree of such pin-point character realisation and authenticity, that were you to see the actors who play Professors Shkolnik, pere et fils,on a campus you'd think they were faculty members.

Additionally Cedar has paid attention to the use of music to heighten the sense of black comedy and judiciously used CGI visuals and graphics to great comic effect.

Eliezer Shkolnik and his son Uriel do not get on. The former is an antediluvian academic whose close study of the ancient Jewish texts has never won him recognition and on the occasion he could have by publishing findings of his painstaking research, a rival published before him. When by mistake the Education Ministry calls Shkolnik the elder to say that the prestigious Israel Prize will be his this year, he believes all his years in the wilderness have ended with this richly deserved recognition.

The appointments committee calls in Uriel to seek his help in overcoming this disaster, because he was supposed to have been the Prize recipient. Uriel is not only in an invidious position vis a vis his father, who has told the press what he thinks of his son in an interview after news of the Prize breaks, the chair of the committee is the academic who published ahead of his father those years before and will never change his mind about how unworthy Eliezer is as a Prize winner.

The Extras on the DVD are also worth viewing, just to get a sense of what Cedar set out to achieve and who his superb cast is. Amongst those who deserve praise are Alma Zak who plays Uriel's wife. Alma is a star of Eretz Nehederet the weekly Israeli TV satire show and also of Be'Tipul which was made into In Treatment and tho a good effort was not a patch on the original; Shlomo Bar'aba almost unknown, and Lior Ashkenazi, as father and son, and Micah Lewensohn as the wrinkled faced committee chair.

Anyone who wants to have confirmation of the coming of age of Israel film should see Footnote, if only to be entertained by a jewel of a film. Not for nothing are Israeli TV series makers finding markets in the US and Europe for their productions. They are up there with the best of intelligent poignant and clever story telling.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A miraculously, diabolically clever film!!!!!!, September 21, 2012
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This review is from: Footnote (Amazon Instant Video)
It is a miracle that this film was made: a satirical look at the hermetic world of Israeli scholarship, full of inside jokes about the leading figures in the world of Talmudic studies, would seem to be an unlikely subject for a commercial film--let alone one of the most acclaimed films of last year and maybe the most popular Israeli comedy ever. The movie works so well, though, because within its dense parody of intellectual and social pretensions it offers a vivid, at times Kafka-esque meditation on the relationship between aging fathers and their adult sons, the vanity of public achievement, as well as the hapless dignity and Sisyphusian futility of labor. Never is it funnier than in its portrayal of language and the way that words encode unintended meanings while subverting the intentions of its author; it is a work of art that demonstrates the complexity and absurdity of attempting to create a work of art. In short, it is an engaging and thoroughly enjoyable film, even for people who are not Israeli Talmud scholars, because it portrays the most basic facts of human culture not in spite but because of its esoteric, hilariously obscure themes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars memorable and brilliantly done, August 14, 2012
By 
Matthew G. Sherwin (last seen screaming at Amazon customer service) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Footnote (DVD)
Footnote is an excellent film that portrays a bitter rivalry between a father and son in the world of competitive, backstabbing academia, a world in which winning prizes for research and being recognized and accepted by the academic community is everything. Some people have commented that the first twenty or so minutes of the minute move too slowly; but this is necessary for character development. The rest of the plot moves along at a very good pace; it's anything but boring. The casting was thoughtfully done and the acting is very convincing. The choreography and cinematography lack nothing; and the musical score enhances the film as well.

When the film starts, we are slowly but surely introduced to an Israeli father and son who are both passionate about Talmud research. Eliezer Shkolnik (Shlomo Bar-Aba) is a bitter, autistic older man who has been nominated for the prestigious Israel prize sixteen years in a row but has never received it; by contrast his son Uriel (Lior Ashkenazi) knows how to work the circuit, keep his subordinates in line with him or else and enjoys the attention that comes with giving six much admired speeches all over Jerusalem in just one night! While Eliezer shows disdain for the community that he thinks recognizes people who are not so "scientific" in their research, deep inside him Eliezer cannot help but feel the human need to be appreciated, accepted and receive awards like his son receives. Eliezer's only real source of pride (and he is a remarkably proud man) is a footnote dedicated to him by his mentor in an opus on Talmudic Literature.

Eliezer has another reason to be sour, jealous and depressed. After nearly thirty years of daily research at The National Library, Eliezer was just about to publish a bold, groundbreaking thesis proving there was a different, European version of the Talmud in the Middle Ages--but just as he's about to publish his findings, the culmination of his life's work and the source of what would have been great pride, another researcher (Grossman, played by Micah Lewensohn) by pure chance just happens to stumble over the actual old European Talmud in Italy! Grossman, knowing he would steal Eliezer's thunder and crush him emotionally, publishes his own findings anyway and Eliezer is badly scarred.

Things only go from bad to worse when Eliezer gets a phone call that he has won The Israel Prize he wanted all his life. When Uriel is secretly told that the prize was actually meant for him and not his father, Uriel is stunned. Uriel fights with the prize committee, including Grossman who chairs the committee, so that his father can have the prize; but Grossman's hatred of Uriel's father surfaces and the solution to the problem will not be easy or immediately obvious. There are plot twists after that but you will be able to follow along.

Look also for excellent supporting performances by Alma Zack as Dikla Shkolnik; Daniel Markovich as Josh and Yuval Scharf as Noa, a journalist.

Footnote is a first-rate film that will appeal to anyone interested in family dynamics; the competitive and backstabbing world of academia; dramas with a slight touch of comedy and fans of the actors in the film.
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Footnote [Blu-ray]
Footnote [Blu-ray] by Joseph Cedar (Blu-ray - 2012)
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