Splashed with lurid colour, and punctuated with a sometimes soap opera-like melodrama, America is an emotional and involving big-screen drama from Israeli director Ofir Raul Grazier (The Cakemaker).
The twisting film follows Eli, a handsome swimming teacher who returns home from the US to Israel following the death of his father.
There, he reconnects with an old friend, Yotam – the nature of their relationship is insinuated if not revealed explicitly to the audience – and the two go adventuring before a dramatic accident changes the trajectory of their lives.
Meanwhile, Eli’s relationship with Yotam’s partner Iris develops; again, director Grazier trusts the audience to interpret the burgeoning friendship as they desire.
In The Cakemaker, Grazier used mouth-watering images of food to communicate sensuality; in America, it is flowers, herbs and water that evoke vivid physicality and sexuality.
In an interview with Cineuropa, Grazier compares the human spirit to a plant; both require nurturing to achieve growth and beauty. This analogy is evident throughout the drama; in particular, the motif of the sage leaf crushed between fingers is a potent and poetic image.
A visually gorgeous feature, America is ripe for post-screening foyer discussions: on the relationship triangle at the heart of the picture, and the fragility of life as we know it.
America screens nationally at the Jewish International Film Festival, now in cinemas. Tickets at jiff.com.au/films/america