News from the Locarno Festival

“Not in Tel Aviv” by Nony Geffen

“Not in Tel Aviv” by Nony Geffen




Some films are like brothers and friends. Vincent Gallo’s Buffalo ’66, Alex Ross Perry’s The Color Wheel and today, Nony Geffen’s Not in Tel Aviv belong to this sibling set of rebellious films, insolently free, non-conformist and full of talent, with a complete auteur both behind and in front of the camera who is intellectually and physically present in the film.

It is not fortuitous that these three films are car journeys made in a pair or as a threesome, stories about kidnapping and unwilling cohabitation, the war between the sexes and masculine neurosis. It is the post-modern legacy of a cinema of a headlong rush to nihilistic rebellion, a frenzied individualism that blends the sublime gesture, the courting of disaster, the energy of despair and punk dandyism.

Trained as an actor, Nony Geffen plays the lead role in his first film, a teacher undergoing a crisis who, after losing his job, kidnaps a young female student and takes her along on a delirious journey during which he kills his mother and reconnects with his former teenage crush, amid many neurotic and fantastic episodes. An ultra-contemporary black comedy, Not in Tel Aviv charms and surprises from start to end.

It is a pleasure to see, in the role of the soon fully consenting captive, the actress Yaara Pelzig, who previously made an impact with her performance as an idealistic terrorist in Nadav Lapid’s Policeman, winner of the Jury Prize at Locarno last year. The two films were both produced by Itai Tamir. A gust of youth and subversion is blowing through Israeli cinema.

Olivier Père
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