TIFF 2018: The Dive (HaTzlila)

The Dive. Courtesy of TIFF.

A family sees massive fighting when they reunite to bury their father’s remains in writer-director Yona Rozenkier’s semi-autobiographical feature, The Dive.

As Avishai (Micha Rozenkier) is finishing up his mandatory IDF training, he’s reunited with his older brothers who prepare him for the harsh realities of war.  Itai (Yona Rozenkier) is the first of the older brothers who we meet.  As the family, including their mom, Franca (Claudia Dulitchi), gather, Yoav (Yoel Rozenkier) shows up and is nearly shot to death.  This is because Israel is more or less in a state of war as usual.  In any event, they’re back on the Israeli kibbitz where they grew up.  The kibbutz is not what it was when they were growing up.  The place is practically empty by now with nobody living there.

Their father had one final request–to be buried in an underwater cave by the sea.  He never could have foreseen his sons fighting among each other while saying goodbye to him.  Could anyone?  It’s poss

As they prepare to say goodbye to their father by burying him in the underwater cave by the sea, the two older brothers prepare Avishai for his future.  In order to prepare him, the older duo teach him in the ways that they were taught.  This includes a very violent paintball game serving as a stand-in for a war zone.  It’s almost as if their training is l’dor v’dor–from generation to generation.  Yoav and Itai have views that could not be more different.  Yoav’s own trauma informs his way of thinking.  On the other hand, Itai feels very strongly in IDF service.  Avishai can only watch as this innocent bystander so to speak.

The masculinity in the film runs very toxic.  If you ask for my own opinion, it is honestly almost too toxic.  Is this supposed to be a commentary with regards to the mandatory fighting in the IDF?  I honestly can’t say.  The older pair of brothers each represent differing views.  I don’t want to get into the politics of it all but I trust writer-director Yona Rozenkier.  After all, he is telling this story out of their own experiences from having to fight upon being called up in 2006.

As a side note ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” plays to great effect during a dance sequence.  I only say this because of the flashing strobe lights.  I say this as a warning for anyone who has photosensitive epilepsy (PSE).

Things may get toxic and no doubt violent at times but family is family when it comes to The Dive.  The film is one of a handful of Israeli films to be screening during the festival.  They say to write what you know.  Yona Rozenkier surely did.

CAST:  Yoel Rozenkier, Micha Rozenkier, Yona Rozenkier, Claudia Dulitchi, Miki Marmor, Daniel Sabag, Shmuel Edelman

The Dive (HaTzlila) holds its North American premiere during the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival in the Contemporary World Cinema program.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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