Africa

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    Africa

    Directed by

    Israel

    2019

    82 min

    • Hebrew

    Drama

    In the village of Nirit, located close to the border of the West Bank, 68-year-old former engineer and retiree Meir discovers he has not been asked to plan the traditional village ceremony as he has for the past 30 years. After failed attempts to regain the job, which was handed off to the local youth, Meir turns his efforts toward building a new wooden bed for his grandson in an attempt to restore his sense of vitality and purpose. Through this new fixation, Meir's inner struggle slowly unfolds: the betrayal of his body, his attempts to communicate with his distant children, his injured masculine pride, and the lingering search for life's meaning. The energy and obsession underlying his actions are a rebellion — rebellion against the body that's betraying him, rebellion against the absence of meaning in his life, rebellion against the terminal nature of a human's time on the planet. Yet through this struggle, a new meaning — one with the possibility of redemption — is born. Meir's reflections are punctuated with revelatory conversations with loved ones and through precious vignettes of a past vacation to Namibia with his wife Maya, which distantly echo his inner life.

    Awards

    • Best Israeli Feature Film, Best Israeli Feature Debut, Best Actor (Meir Gerner) - Haifa IFF

    Festivals

    Credits

    Cast
    Meir Gerner
    Maya Gerner
    Screenplay
    Oren Gerner
    Cinematography
    Adi Mozes
    Editing
    Gil Vesely

    Director's Statement

    Through a long observation of my parents and the use of personal (biographical) materials of their lives and community in my hometown 'Nirit', I have developed the characters of the film. I sought to explore the character of my father, through a journey in which the banal and the fatal are intertwined. It's been five years since my father retired. There seems to be some peace in his new status, but at the same time there was a quiet and powerful drama. 'AFRICA' seeks to create a cinematic MRI image of a character who finds himself in a reality that has disassociated itself from the meanings on which he relied on during his life. The energy underlying his actions are a rebellion: rebellion against the betrayal of his body, against the growing distance from his children, against the absence of meaning. But by the very existence of this struggle, a new meaning is born, with a possibility of redemption. The film consists documentary materials from my parents' trip to Africa. It echoes through the film, reflecting an inner wild possibility of life.

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    Press

    The sense of being at odds with those younger hardens into actual conflict as the film progresses.

    Wendy Ide, Screendaily

    Oren Gerner

    Oren Gerner

    Israel

    Oren Gerner studied filmmaking at Minshar for Arts Academy in Tel-Aviv, where he majored in directing and screenwriting, graduating with distinction. He currently works as a cinema lecturer in several filmmaking academies in Israel. He has directed several short films, which participated in more than 150 film festivals, such as Cannes, Sundance, San-Sebastian and more, and won 15 international prizes. AFRICA (2019) is Oren's first feature film, selected at TIFF in the Discovery section.