Very slow, very deliberate….but also well worth seeing.
by Martin Hafer
Baba Joon is an excellent film but it’s not for everyone. If you are looking for an action-filled film or hate subtitles, then you probably won’t enjoy the movie as much as other viewers. This is not a criticism of your tastes or the film…but you need to understand that Baba Joon, although an excellent film, is also very slow and deliberately paced. The pay off for all this at the end definitely is there…provided you are the type to watch the film in the first place.
The picture is set in Israel but you’d never know it, as almost all you see is dusty farmland. The characters are an unusual group for a film, as they are Israeli Persians…Jews who came there from Iran long ago. The grandfather continued the same business he knew from the old country, raising turkeys, and his son and grandson are expected to carry on the family tradition. As for the father, Yitshak, he’s committed to the life. While he doesn’t appear to particularly enjoy turkey farming, he’s determined to do it…even if it means having almost no free time and no life apart from raising the birds and going to the temple.
As for the grandson, Moti, he naturally resents their life. He never gets to play or do anything fun…just take care of those accursed turkeys! When Yitzhak’s brother comes from America for a visit, things start to come to a head. The brother refused to stay and have this sort of life and he begins encouraging Moti to do what he loves. As for the mother, she hates what Yitzhak is doing to their boy and is even considering taking the boy and leaving.
There were two things I really loved about this simple film. Although the film is set in Israel and concerns a very specific minority, the story is in many ways universal. The struggle Yitzhak has in being loyal to his father due to their paternalistic culture is one that is true in many countries. And, the boy’s resentment is something viewers clearly can understand…and the story really tugs at your heart. Additionally, despite being a movie from a small filmmaking nation, the acting was surprisingly good…very realistic and very effective.
Overall, for the right person, the film is extremely entertaining. Just be patient and by the end you will likely find it a very satisfying viewing experience.
Baba Joon will be released by Strand Releasing on 26th July 2016