Last Tuesday was my last night at the SVJFF for this year (closing night is Sunday with THE OUTRAGEOUS SOPHIE TUCKER, but I'll be at another film festival by then.) The film, ENCIRCLEMENTS is a coming of age story in Israel. Aharon is a bar mitzvah boy, and a good student. Good enough that he wins a contest to be selected for the honor of carrying the Torah in the march around town on Simchat Torah. And this incites some jealousy in the brash, popular kid who thought the honor was all but his. And it does win him the attention of cute Aliza, whom he has a crush on. But most of all it brings the attention and desires of the whole town, who want him to pray for each of their personal desires while he is holding the Torah and communing with G-d. Which gets a little sketchy when his father asks him to pray for a little brother or sister, and his mother asks him to do no such thing (she's had several miscarriages and can't take it any more.) And then, while carrying the Torah, tragedy strikes. He drops it. And the aftermath of that makes up the second half of the movie, dealing with the painful realities of adult responsibilities that are...if not too big for a thirteen year old, at least pretty new to him. It's not even the dropping the Torah that's a big deal, it's the aftermath, how he deals with it (by fasting) and how the town reacts. A very smart film about what it means to be a thirteen year old adult.
And now, for the first time in months, I'm actually all caught up on this blog. My next festival--Another Hole in the Head--starts tomorrow.
Running Time: 98 minutes
My Total Minutes: 408,240