Next time we catch a film on a cinema, be sure not to arrive late to *properly* notice the opening credits of the film. There may be a hint shown during the opening credit that will give us a little clue on how the film we are about to watch is going to turn out. It does not mean to set a certain expectations or whatsoever, yet the attention will serve as some kind of guidance on how to watch the film in a certain fashion. Especially if the film has a drop of governmental influence.
When I saw the words of “Israeli Film Fund” at the beginning of the film, I had no objections whether this film has to be politically correct. After all, it does not take powerful political injection to make Kingdom of Heaven behaves like a lion on sedative medication. Or the recently released In My Father’s Den still manages to generate a good buzz on its emotionally appealing plot twists, without anyone ever remember that the film is funded by New Zealand authorities to boost the country’s film development.
Hidden agendas are hard to escape. By any means, film makers will feel reluctant to go extremes in being arrogant as they have this amount of accommodativeness. The government institutions help them financing the film, the filmmakers will try their best, or do a little sacrifice in accommodating messages or laws or any form of apprehensive information to be inserted to the film. Yet when they integrate to the tight-lined structure of the film, they succeed to disappear and pave the way of total enjoyment in watching a film on a big screen. At least, the subtlety of such placement will not make us raging over 2-second show-off a la Tisot watch in Angelina Jolie’s wrist.
What’s wrong with Walk on Water then?
To me, nothing.
But a fellow film enthusiast point out how the film was made to look like a PA-commercial of Israeli and Germany tourism promotion. The panoramic views of Israeli like we’ve never seen in any primetime news before may enhance this opinion, which IMHO is something acceptable to do since, going back to my point above, the film is funded by government and it serves the storyline. Consider the summary below.
Eyal, an Israeli spy agent, on the heels of despair after his wife committed suicide, is given a mission to murder an ex-criminal of war in Germany. To get in touch with the family member, he pretends to be a tourist guide who will accompany the convicted’s grandson, Axel, in his holiday trip to Israel to visit his sister. What starts off as a pure business relationship blossoms to become a close friendhsip, eventhough Axel’s outgoing personality clashes with Eyal’s introvertness, not to mention Axel’s homosexuality which frights Eyal’s orthodox value at first. As Axel finishes the holiday, and the mission drags to uncertainties, the agency decides to send Eyal to Germany to finish the mission.
The two buddies meet again, and Eyal succeeds in getting an invitation the Axel’s family gathering where the secrets of more than five-decade year old are revealed.
Interchanging scenes that shift between two countries greatly different from one another allow Eytan Fox helming the film in such a way to suggest the film being ripped off directly from pictorial books. Together with the cinematographer Tobias Hochstein, they present the two countries as an ideal place to live in. From the houses with communal atmosphere in Israeli suburban area where they look peaceful, to the bright lights of Frankfurt, they put distinctive quality to each set that eventually do not merely serve as backdrop, but rather, in accordance with each personality traits that the character posses.
Well, to expand further on the latter statement may take up our whole patience here as I can feel that you start to get tiresome reading this blurting, but what I can assure you is that it may be tempting to classify the characters into stereotype or classification of being Arian and Jewish as what our pre-conceived notion might bring. After all, the two good-looking lead actors carry physical qualities of their own race in the first place.
Yet, in this political-charged drama, we may not see many mind-challenging twist. Everything is told in a clean slate narrative manner, flows on a chronological order of time without any dizzying flashback scenes as they are promptly inserted in the dialogues. But to see an enjoyable drama with nuanced performances from the actors in a big screen is surely one pleasant way to spend a Saturday evening.
Not to mention that it will make us feeling like taking a walk in a breezy sea of Israel.