“FIRE BIRDS”— The World’s Most Exclusive Club

“FIRE BIRDS”

The World’s Most Exclusive Club

Amos Lassen

When an eighty-year-old man’s body is found with three stab wounds to the chest and a number tattooed along his forearm. Amnon, a police detective and second generation Holocaust survivor, is assigned to the case. As the plot moves between the past and present, stories unfold.

Two plot threads develop. One of them is about the cop who has been disgraced in the past but who now has a chance to redeem himself by solving a mystery. His wife has also thrown him out and would like to return to her and to his daughter. The other plot thread is unconventional and we see some of Israel’s finest actors. Neither plot thread winds up resolving itself expectedly, but it’s hard to decide if some ultimately unresolved and undeveloped plot points reflect the modern tolerance for uncertainty in narratives or if something is missing.

 This is a black comedy about a man who is determined to crash “the world’s most exclusive club” of wealthy Tel Aviv widows who are Holocaust survivors. I find it fascinating how we laugh and cry at the same time and while the idea of a comedy about Holocaust survivors sounds strange, it really works here.

Director Amir Wolf and his two co-screenwriters Orly Robensthein Katcap and Itzhak Wolf play with complex timeframes. In the present tense,  detective Amnon (Amnon Wolf) is ordered to investigate the death of an old man found dumped in the Yarkon River. The body had an Auschwitz tattoo, and Amnon, the son of two Survivors, does not want this assignment, but because he is on probation,  he has no choice.

Amnon’s investigation is cross cut with the story of how “Amikam” (Oded Teomi) spends his final days. Amikam (if that is really his name) runs afoul of two widows: a famous actress named “Zissy” (Miriam Zohar) and a retired surgeon named “Olga” (Gila Almagor) who are also survivors as were their now dead husbands. In one scene, Amnon takes his young daughter to visit his elderly parents. “Danielle” (Sarit Vino-Elad) so she can interview them and learn more about her family history. However, Amnon doesn’t want her to know about any of the “things” he learned as a child. So in answer to the question “Where did you and Zayde meet?” his mother (Aliza Rozen) describes a camp on a chocolate river filled with marzipan. “Every day we had tea with Mister Himmler!” Danielle is entranced and here is an example when tears and laughter come together. 

I realize I have really not said much about the plot but to do so would be to spoil the film. You just have to see for yourself.

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