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4.1 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

FOOTNOTE is the tale of a great rivalry between a father and son, two eccentric professors, who both dedicated their lives to work in Talmudic Studies. The father, Eliezer, is a stubborn purist who fears the establishment and has never been recognized for his work. His son, Uriel, is an up-and-coming star in the field, who appears to feed on accolades, endlessly seeking recognition.Then one day, the tables turn. When Eliezer learns that he is to be awarded the Israel Prize, the most valuable honor for scholarship in the country, his vanity and desperate need for validation are exposed. His son, Uriel, is thrilled to see his father's achievements finally recognized but, in a darkly funny twist, is forced to choose between the advancement of his own career and his father's. Will he sabotage his father's glory?

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

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Shlomo Aba, Alisa Rosen, Lior Ashkenazi, Alma Zack, Shlomo Bar-Abba
  • Directors: Joseph Cedar
  • Producers: Leon Edery, Moshe Edery, David Mandil
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Hebrew
  • Subtitles: French, Portuguese, English, 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:
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: July 24, 2012
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00772HQTC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,120 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Footnote" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Paul Allaer TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 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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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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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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