Precious Doll wrote:The Cakemaker (Israel) 7/10
This has been one of those films that kept alluding me. I missed it at the Jewish Film Festival last year, then missed it at the Gay & Lesbian Film Festival earlier this year and then missed it on its general release because its virtually impossible to find any website or anything in the print of everything showing throughout Sydney (most of the cinema chains are designed to lock you into one to three cinema locations and there is no way of finding out what is playing outside your local area - a bizarre way to run a business). Thank goodness Strand Releasing picked the film up and have given it physical media release..
It's a nice, low-key movie which may seem a bit naive, a bit too "reticent" - like its characters - but is also disarmingly honest and becomes slowly even quite affecting. I'm not sure it is "big" enough for the Academy (especially in a year when Foreign Film seems crowded with strong titles): though it deals with important themes, it does so in a quiet, unshowy way. But I have certainly seen much worse movies nominated in that category.
I’m inclined to accept Marco’s take on this film, I guess. And I must add the the film is greatly helped by Tim Kalkhof’s performance, (who didn’t win a much deserved best actor Ophir, since, not being Israeli, he was not eligible). Now comes the raining-on-the-parade stuff.
Over a year ago, on “Israeli Cinema Day”, I saw, back to back, previews of both Foxtrot and The Cakemaker. Strangely, one ended up as Israel’s Oscar entry last year and the other managed to do it this time, so I guess both release strategies worked. Anyway, I was having my own private Sarah-Adler-is-married-to-an-architect*-who-have-a-voice-of-reason-brother-and-a-Holocaust-survivor-mother little festival. And it was another case of a bad film (that’s Foxtrot) somewhat tainting my impression of a much better one, since by simply viewed together, too often used patterns became more obvious. In this case, is the Israel-is-oh-so-European take local filmmakers here love, for it makes their films festivals friendly. So – not a trace of the practically year-round harsh light we have here and the totally year-round harsh disposition we Israelis display. No, it’s always raining here and the people are oh-so dainty and polite and speak English and even German. And they have internationally acceptant names (in Foxtrot we have Michael, Daphna, Jonathan and Alma Feldman). In The Cakemaker Adler’s character is named Anat. Now – Adler is not an Anat. Anat (not Anette) is a very Israeli name. Alas, Sarah Adler has no Israeli vibe in her. Born in Paris and raised in France and in Israel she has a very French, Charlotte Ginsburg like presence (and accent, when speaking Hebrew). I guess this is what makes directors (and critics) here like her, while she is practically unknown widely. And though she was doing an ok job in The Cakemaker, I found her presence totally wrong.
* We need to have a much more profound discussion about the over-representation of architects in films one day. Ok, I know it’s all about us being manly yet sensitive, artistically creative yet engineerly realistic, not to mention impeccably dressed. We are indeed the best human kind has to offer. And - as is almost comically exhibited in Foxtrot - we live in lavishly decorated spaces, or at least, as is the case in The Cakemaker, in a romantically shabby chic ones, which make us just perfect for being represented in a visual medium such as Cinema. (The fact that nitpicking the circumstances of Oren’s, (Anat’s husband and Thomas’ lover), work in Berlin indicates he should have been an engineer rather than an architect is irrelevant to anyone but me, I’m afraid).