CIFF 2015: Tikkun
Every film festival has its fare share of provocative films, especially the international fests that are not limited to certain PC standards we have here in America. Avishai Sivan’s “Tikkun”from Israel, which appeared at the Jerusalem Film Festival this past July, is one such film. Filmed in stark black-and-white that emphasizes the surreal qualities of the religious and supernatural elements in the story, Tikkun resembles something from Darren Aronofsky or Michael Haneke, especially with the close-up shots of raw kosher meat, insects and human genitalia.
Haim-Aaron is an ultra-Orthodox Yeshiva (Aharon Traitel) scholar in Jerusalem whose intent on worshiping God with devotion, following the tradition passed from generation to generation in his family – but then his interests start to drift and one day while standing in the shower distracting by his erection, he slips and dies. After the paramedics announce his death, his kosher butcher father(Khalifa Natour) steps in and miraculously brings him back to life. Was he going against God’s will though or was this divine intervention? The father notices his son’s apathetic and strange behavior and is tormented with nightmares of fear that he has angered God. The story is both a religious falling out and one that includes devout faith as well, but it seems more interested in provoking with scenes that include a visit to a prostitute and some necrophilia. While its glacial pace held my interest, the Old Testament symbolism is never quite clear, making its incoherence a bit a distraction.