Footnote

[2.0 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

How you feel about this movie might be in some way related to your attitude about father-son rivalries. Set on a background of obscure Israeli academia. In Hebrew. (But also dubbed in Portuguese.) (But not English.)

Father and son are Eliezer and Uriel Shkolnik, respectively. They are both Talmudic scholars at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Eliezer is old and bitter, and unpopular in the department. He is (in turn) crankily dismissive of what he considers to be the superficial research methods of his colleagues, including his son's. Uriel wishes things could be different, but what are you gonna do?

A symbol of Eliezer's resentment is his decades-long failure to win the Israel Prize. But this year, he gets a phone call saying he's won it. Hooray! Problem solved, right?

Well, no. But no spoilers here.

Footnote was nominated for a Best Foreign Film Oscar last year. It was successfully aimed at critics. For us mere mortals, it is very slow going.

For example, if you zoom in on the DVD box over there, you'll find that Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly deemed it "funny and smart". Well, it's funny if you are inordinately amused by too many Israeli academics crammed into a very small meeting room, having to stand up when someone enters or leaves. I think the Marx Brothers did this better.