Title: Atlit (Rendez-vous à Atlit)
Director: Shirel Amitai
Starring: Geraldine Nakache, Judith Chemla, Yael Abecassis, Arsinee Khanjian, Pippo Delbono, Makram J. Khoury, Yossi Marshak.
Writer-director Shirel Amitai’s debut feature ‘Atlit’ follows three siblings reconnecting in their childhood home. The story takes place in 1995, in the small town of Atlit, where Cali (Geraldine Nakache) meets her sisters Darel (Yael Abecassis) and Asia (Judith Chemla), to sell the house inherited by her parents. The newly found proximity between the three, creates an oneiric family sensation where the girls interact with the spirit of their parents – Mona (Arsinee Khanjian) and Zack (Pippo Delbono) – as they wonder whether to sell the house or not.
Amitai is very canny in putting a touch of comedy in the drama, although gushiness and cliche take over. The film is an example of how the technical team exceeds the script. A delicate cinematography, gracefully balances with the sounds of the quiet seaside town, along with the production design, that gives the two-story stucco home a cosy-decadent vibe.
The historical setting of ‘Atlit’ is crucial, since it takes place when Israel was under the leadership of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who seemed to be heading towards a peaceful resolution with the Palestinians. The sisters actually witness the November 4th mass rally in Tel Aviv, learning about the assassination of Rabin, that would eventually divert Israel from its course of peace.
Director Amitai alternates the personal and the political, to explore on different levels the sense of belonging. ‘Atlit’ conveys the feeling that peace can thrive only when you reunite with your roots. Thusly, the metaphor of the Franco-Israeli sisters rejoining in the home of their childhood memories, echoes the point of contention in a region afflicted by conflict, between Israelis and Palestinians. On top of it all, Dream coalesces with reality, as the departed parents join their daughters, bequeathing the idea that being at peace with the past is decisive for the future.
Written by: Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi