Review by Ed Nguyen
Orly Zilbershatz-Banai, Maya Maron, Nitai Gaviratz, Daniel Magon, Eliana Magon,
Director: Nir Bergman
Audio: Hebrew Dolby Surround
Video: Color, 1.78:1 widescreen
Studio: Columbia Tri Star
Length: 84 minutes
Release Date: July 20, 2004
have so much to say to you,
day there's more to tell,
I'm little now,
away every passing day..."
is an inherent universality about family relationships which transcends all
language or cultural boundaries. Tensions
between parents and their adolescent children, minor family squabbles, struggles
over personal freedom and dutiful responsibilities - these represent merely a
small portion of the sundry components of any normal, on-going family
experience, large or small.
Bergman's debut film Knafayim Shvurot
(Broken Wings, 2002) follows the
events of a summer's end for one such typical family. Unfolding over the course of several days, Broken Wings examines how a family, rendered by internal conflicts
and a sudden crisis, struggles to maintain its bonds of unity.
The middle-aged matriarch of the family, Dafna Ulman (Orly
Zilbershatz-Banai), is a hospital midwife increasingly overwhelmed by the
unrelenting demands of her career and her own efforts to raise four children on
her own. There is no father, and
while the lack of a paternal influence does not initially appear to be
detrimental, his absence will become increasingly significant and relevant as
the story progresses.
the children, Maya (Maya Maron) is the oldest, an aspiring young singer who
feels suffocated by her family's needs. With
her mother too exhausted at times to provide adequate care for her children,
Maya must bear some of the burden of raising her two youngest siblings, an
inquisitive brother Ido and a young sister Bahr.
Maya has a good heart and does attempt to be a dutiful daughter, though
she cannot help but feel occasionally resentful and frustrated by her new
responsibilities. As with any teen,
Maya longs for personal freedom of a sort; she is simply too young and
inexperienced to provide a stable emotional core for the family.
slightly younger brother Yair (Nitai Gaviratz) is of little help.
He likewise is undergoing an identity and spiritual crisis.
Having dropped out of school much to his mother's dismay, Yair has begun
to question the rationale behind life, rebelling at will and trying to make some
sense of his own existence. Yair is
an intelligent child, but he would rather hide behind a mask and a meager job
handing out flyers than continue his education in preparations for a societal
existence in which he holds no faith. There
is an aura of unresolved anger about Yair, perhaps over the absence of a true
father figure, perhaps out of pessimism for the future.
for the two youngest children, both are essentially left to fend for themselves
for hours on end. Unattended, Ido
becomes morbidly absorbed with the idea of filming himself as he repetitively
leaps into a deep swimming pool. The
sister Bahr (Eliana Magon) has insecurities which leave her frightened and
unwilling to make her own decisions. As
the youngest child, Bahr needs the most nurturing love of all the children.
essence, the four siblings have responded to the hardships in their lives by
either withdrawing into their introspective thoughts or shutting themselves off
from the outside world. The overall
effect is that the unity of the Ulman family is slowly disintegrating.
Children and mother may speak with one another, but there is little sense
of real communication, of anyone truly listening or responding to the internal
turmoil and emotions beneath the words.
on the first day of kindergarten for Bahr.
Although this is a relatively insignificant event, such matters are
always magnified in importance within a family setting, and so Dafna feels
compelled to be present for Bahr on her first day.
While the events of this morning are somewhat hectic, the remainder of
the day proves relatively calm. Each
member of the Ulman family goes about his or her daily travails, which the film
reveals in a slice-of-life manner. We
can sense in these activities a hope or desire to move onward with life,
regardless of any current family dilemmas - Dafna attempts to register for a
dating service, her son Yair attends a meeting with an academic counselor about
possibly returning to school, Maya contemplates a balance between her musical
aspirations and her responsibilities to her siblings and mother.
a new crisis suddenly develops for which Maya feels partly to blame, and it
threatens to tear the family irremediably apart. From this point onwards, Broken
Wings traces a path through the five individual family members' reactions to
the crisis, their emotional or spiritual epiphanies, and the eventual
reconciliation. Such story
developments may sound somewhat melodramatic, but there is a heartfelt note of
sincerity and realism to the proceedings.
a metaphorical window into the fragility and preciousness of life. If every life is a miracle, then each is to be embraced,
never wasted. The fleetingness of
our mortality compels us to persevere through the hardships which face us.
For the departed, let our memories cherish their past triumphs and
sorrows; for the living, let us believe in the fraternity of humanity, that we
are all, in the end, brothers and sisters of a larger communal family.
If we cannot accept our individual faults or if we cannot learn to
forgive or to love in spite of those flaws or differences, then how can we place
ourselves above the common animals of this earth?
In good conscience, we must endeavor to prove ourselves worthy of the
gift of life, to overcome our tribulations through a united spirit, to mend our
fairly decent and is presented in a 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. The bit rate averages 6-7 Mbps.
Skin tones are realistic, and the color palette generally emulates
natural hues. The picture is only
mildly grainy in an otherwise acceptable transfer.
mostly a dialogue-driven film. The
audio quality is quite adequate for the film.
My only regret is that Maya's poignant and touching song, dedicated to
her father, is never heard completely with full instrumentation.
numerous international accolades, including various Best Film and Best Actress
awards, and deservedly so. As such,
the lack of extras on this disc, aside from a few trailers, is disappointing.
seven trailers are for Broken Wings, Monsieur
Ibrahim (with Omar Sharif), Ki-duk Kim's spiritual Spring,
Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring, the bizarrely surreal animated film The
Triplets of Belleville, the French farce Bon
Voyage, the whimsical German comedy Good
Bye, Lenin!, and Carandiru.