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Hearat Shulayim | Joseph Cedar,
Israel | Hebrew with English subtitles | 106 minutes
Thanks to a clerical error, Eliezer Shkolnik, a respected if little-known Talmudic scholar, is informed that he’s won the coveted Israel Prize; in truth, the prize was meant for his son, Uriel, a much more flamboyant, widely-read Talmudist. The authorities ask Uriel to help them rectify the situation, but Uriel argues the case for his father’s deserving the honor; meanwhile, Eliezer plans to use the occasion as an opportunity to intellectually take down his son and the whole generation of a la mode Talmudists. Winner of the prize for Best Screenplay at Cannes, New York born-and-trained Israeli filmmaker Joseph Cedar has here created the wryest of Jewish comedies, a emotional competition that pits father against son, built around the understanding of sacred texts. Rarely has the weight of a culture’s intellectual past been depicted so forecefully, nor shown to be as vibrant. A Sony Pictures Classic release.