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Footnote (2012)

Shlomo Bar-Aba , Lior Ashkenazi , Joseph Cedar  |  PG |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Shlomo Bar-Aba, Lior Ashkenazi, Aliza Rosen, Alma Zack, Micah Lewensohn
  • Directors: Joseph Cedar
  • Writers: Joseph Cedar
  • Producers: Joseph Cedar, David Mandil, Leon Edery, Michal Graidy, Moshe Edery
  • Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Hebrew
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: Portuguese
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: July 24, 2012
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00772HQTC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,861 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Footnote" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Go figure that a movie about scholarly research can pack such a wallop of dramedic pizzazz and entertaining formal flourish in its examination of the arcana of academe and the mysteries of familial competition. Though it's packed with subtextual meaning on any number of levels, the title of this Israeli import and 2011 foreign language Oscar nominee is also a reference to the only claim to fame of Eliezer Shkolnik (Shlomo Bar Aba). The cranky, crotchety, and exceptionally old-fashioned professor of Talmudic studies at Jerusalem's Hebrew University has all but perished after not having published despite his relentless examination of obscure texts as a fanatical philologist. His lifelong quest into pure research was usurped by a jealous colleague years earlier, and Eliezer has only one reference to his name: a footnote in the work of a long-dead academic idol. Yet he clings to his old-school approach to intellectual investigation with greater gusto as his final years tick by. His rival in scholarly pursuit is his son Uriel (Lior Ashkenazi), an equally serious man who also teaches at the university, but whose flashy, more populous approach to Talmudic study has earned him wide acclaim. The fact that he's authored so many well-liked books is confirmation to Eliezer that his son's methods and expertise are the antithesis of everything to which the elder Shkolnik has devoted himself for decades. When a mix-up occurs over which Shkolnik is to be awarded a prestigious academic prize, father and son exchange more cerebral bites, provoking barks of laughter from the audience as the mistake complicates itself so unpredictably. Writer-director Joseph Cedar navigates the sea of intellectual and family discord with a genuinely droll touch that's as smart and stinging as it is funny. Using an array of zingy stylistic splashes like time-shifting flashbacks, disarming compositions, fleeting fantasy sequences, lively and often bombastic musical cues, eye-grabbing graphical elements, and clever visual digressions that come across as their own footnotes, Cedar lets loose lots of surprises that reveal the characters' complex inner conflicts. The best scene plays out in a miniscule office crowded with books and way more people than the space was meant to hold, where controversy is exposed and the intrigue behind motivations develops in a combination of near-slapstick comedy and palpable suspense. The acting is terrific, from the antihero dynamic between father and son to sideline players in the ensemble cast that includes wives, children, collaborators, and the security personnel who are a constant presence everywhere anyone goes. Footnote is a satire of intellect and domestic friction that cuts deep with dramatic tension and the insight of its often magical realist sense of high farce. --Ted Fry

Product Description

The story of a great rivalry between a father and son, both eccentric professors in the Talmud department of Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The son has an addictive dependency on the embrace and accolades that the establishment provides, while his father 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. The Israel Prize, Israel's most prestigious national award, is the jewel that brings these two to a final, bitter confrontation.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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
Format: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.
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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
Format: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
Format: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.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
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... Read more
Published 1 month ago by vta
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome
I had to watch this movie for class and I am glad that we were required to. Movie is smart and witty. Loved it!
Published 1 month ago by Janet Lopez
5.0 out of 5 stars Very intelligent movie.
Thought provoking and well acted. Led to lots of family discussion. We appreciated that it was sometimes ambiguous and unpredictable.
Published 1 month ago by Jonathan Lockman
2.0 out of 5 stars depressing
Although there were some excellent ethical discussions, I found it boring and depressing. I was expecting some humor but instead felt the whole family needed anti-depressants
Published 2 months ago by BobM
5.0 out of 5 stars Drama at it's best
This movie really had me sitting on the edge of my chair.

The full range of circumstances between the father, son and wife was extraordinary. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Rick Hyman
4.0 out of 5 stars A Hollow Victory
This film explores every angle of the ruthless cutthroat competition that can exist between professors in a similar academic field. Read more
Published 5 months ago by mr. critic
5.0 out of 5 stars One smart movie!
See this with a friend: part of the fun of this highly original movie lies in the discussion you have afterwards--the plot twists come fast and yield several possible... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Picky consumer
5.0 out of 5 stars Oscar Worthy, Leaving Politics Aside
This was one of the most thought-provoking, as well as entertaining films I've seen in a very long time. Families are surely complex and interesting organisms. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Susan Werner
4.0 out of 5 stars Footnote
Excellent acting. Interesting storyline. Great setting. Found the movie very enjoyable. the issues were particularly focused on issues around father/son relations, a topic in... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Lisa Michael
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Insights into Academia and Family
This movie is very deep. At times it plays like a dark comedy. It's always intelligent. This Oscar-nominated Israeli film proffers keen insights into both academic and... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Roberto Pacheco
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