Avi and I talked about his brilliant and beautiful new film Past Life, and letting go, about justice, pessimism and why he believes we need to "let life take over."
In the fascinating new film from director Avi Nesher (The Wonders), two Israeli sisters delve into the dark mystery of their father's former life in Poland during World War II.
The newest film by Avi Nesher boldly charts dangerous emotional territory as it tells of two sisters trying to uncover their family's past.
It is 1977, and talented but introspective singer Sephi Milch (Joy Rieger) is singing with her choir in a Berlin concert hall. At the reception afterwards, Sephi is shocked when an older woman, upon hearing Sephi's name, hisses "murderer." The woman is immediately hustled away by her son, but the incident haunts Sephi, and when she returns home to Tel Aviv, she shares the story with her older sister, Nana (Nelly Tagar). A fiery tabloid journalist with a political bent, Nana immediately wants to investigate.
Sephi relates the incident to her parents, too -- and it causes an uproar, with her authoritarian father finally confessing that he had another name and life in Poland during the Second World War. But Nana is unwilling to accept their father's tale of survival and loss at face value. The search for the truth of their family's past raises almost-unbearable questions for the sisters: is our father who he says he is? If he's not, who is the man who raised us? And will we bear the spiritual weight of his troubled past?
The story is fascinating right up to its last revelations, and the performances keep us engaged from the first frame. A familial detective story about family, secrets, and identity, Past Life will occupy thoughts and conversations long after the credits roll.
Avi Nesher studied international relations at Columbia University. His films include The Troupe (1979), She (1982), Timebomb (1991), Turn Left at the End of the World (2004), The Secrets (07), The Matchmaker (2010), and The Wonders (2013), the latter three of which screened at TIFF.
For more information about my podcasting, writing and public speaking please visit my site here.
With thanks to producer Josh Snethlage and Mixed Media Sound.
Like this podcast? rabble is reader-supported journalism. Chip in to keep stories like these coming.
Thank you for reading this story…
More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.
rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.
So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.
And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.