The fateful contract between a secular Israeli army officer and a devout young Holocaust survivor has profound and unexpected consequences, in this sprawling, decades-spanning epic from director Yossi Madmony (Restoration).


Contemporary World Cinema

A Place in Heaven

Yossi Madmony

A Place in Heaven, the newest film from Yossi Madmony (whose Restoration played the Festival in 2011), is a sprawling epic spanning forty years, three wars, and countless characters. The genesis of the story is based on a particular, and peculiar, tenet of Jewish religious law that allows for the trade of a person's place in heaven.

In the nascent years of Israel, an outstanding officer nicknamed Bambi (Alon Aboutboul) returns from a mission. He is met by a young army cook, a religious Holocaust survivor who believes there is a special place in heaven for those willing to sacrifice their lives for others. The cook offers the officer a month's worth of tasty shakshuka, his favourite meal, in exchange for his seat in heaven — a trade the secular soldier is only too happy to make.

Director Madmony's exploration of the ensuing decades of the soon-to-be general's life — his sacrifices in pursuit of the woman he loves, his aching desire for a son, his inability to mould that son into his own image — shows us a personal history inextricably entwined with the history of a nation; in both, frailty, pride, and sheer stubbornness abound.

Madmony is fearless in tackling big themes: parenthood, death, and the fear that one's legacy is not exactly turning out as hoped. In doing so, he provides us with a gripping, densely layered tale of love, betrayal, and faith, as told through the eyes of a father and son locked within a devotion to, and denial of, each other.



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