September 3, 2020  (Web Review)

Redemption

Kino Lorber, 104 min., in Hebrew w/English subtitles, not rated, DVD: $19.99, Blu-ray: $29.99, May 26

Reviewer rating: 3.5/4

In this heartfelt drama, a former lead singer for a Jewish rock band High Beams seeks out his former band members to restart the band. Menachem (Moshe Folkenflik) or Menny for short, works in a local grocery store and does not make enough money to pay for his six-year-old daughter Geula’s (Emily Granin) expensive cancer treatments. Geula’s mother died as a result of cancer and Menny is determined to help his daughter survive. Despite the wig and dealing with cancer, Geula is a normal fun-loving child attending kindergarten. It has been 15 years since the band played together and since that time Menny has become devoutly religious. To earn money for Geula’s expensive cancer treatments, Menny decides to play music for weddings and, he persuades the former band members Guli (Yonatan Galila), Avi (Sivan Shtivi), and Dani (Shahar Even-Tzur) to help him out. Avi is still playing gigs; Goolie manages a kiosk; and, Eran is a successful restaurant owner. They are charmed by Geula and agree to reunite the band to help Menny pay for treatments; Eran even pays for Geula’s next session.

The men have reached their 40s and Menny tells Avi he is starting to look for another wife; on his first date, the lady tells him she prefers a scholar and is not interested in Hassidism. Eran offers the band an opportunity to play in clubs again and Menny agrees at first, but then discovers he can’t return entirely to his former ways. Menny wrestles with his secular past, his religious orthodoxy, the loss of his wife, and conflict with his friend Avi. Menny breaks down during an interview following a club performance and admits he tried to study the Torah but could never be a scholar. Finally, Menny creates a new balance in his life and his daughter’s treatments show promise. Menny even admits he might keep trying to meet a lady.

In Hebrew, Geula means redemption and Menny improves emotionally by the end of the story. All of the band members reveal interesting traits, the acting is superb, and the music is one of the best parts of the film. Moshe Folkenflik is especially wonderful playing Menny and his daughter Geula is endearing as well. With genuine characters, sincere acting, and great direction by Joseph Madmony and Boaz Yehonatan Yacov, Redemption is a drama worth watching. Highly Recommended. (T. Root)