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Sweet Mud

Israel’s 2006 Official Selection for Best Foreign Language Oscar Consideration

It’s 1974 and Dvir (Tomer Steinhof), just about to turn twelve and entering his Bar Mitzvah year, lives on a kibbutz in Israel with his mother and older brother. His father died some years earlier, but no one will tell Dvir anything other than that it was an accident. Dvir’s mother, Miri (Ronit Yudkevitz) is fragile and mentally unstable, and Dvir does his best to look out for her during the limited time each day he’s allowed to spend with her. We learn early on that Miri spent time in a sanatorium following her husband’s death, and she’s clearly never fully recovered. Sweet Mud is, on the surface, a very simple story of a son’s relationship with his fragile mother, but there are so many subtle threads woven into the fabric of the story that the end result is a richly complex tapestry of culture, idealism, love and freedom. The acting, especially from Yudkevitz, who portrays Miri as both tragic and dignified, and Steinhof, in a truly impressive debut performance, carries the film, and the sweeping cinematography of the kibbutz and the surrounding countryside is so breathtaking you’ll swear you’re soaking in Eden incarnate. Sweet Mud is a complex and multi-layered coming-of-age tale; it’s sweet and charming in all the right places, and deeply moving without being manipulative. It made me wish more American independent films – especially those with teen protagonists – would do what this film does so well: Take a simple idea, don’t overdo it, and execute it to perfection. Kim Voynar, Cinematical
Showtimes: 

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Directed by: 
Dror Shaul
Running Time: 
97
Language: 
Hebrew and some French with English subtitles
Starring: 
Tomer Steinhof, Ronit Yudkevitz, Shai Avivi, Henri Garcin, Pini Tavger
Screenplay by: 
Dror Shaul

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