Berlinale: Film Review Intimate Grammar (HaDikduk HaPnimi)

     |    Monday February 14th, 2011

This past weekend I had the chance to watch the heartbreakingly beautiful Israeli film ‘Intimate Grammar‘ (HaDikduk HaPnimi) at the Haus der Kulturen Der Welt. An intriguing title for a very well made film.(based on the book of the same title by David Grossman). You could almost call the movie ‘Portrait of an Artist at a Very Young Age’. The main character – a young boy- struggles in his childlike way with issues passed on to him more or less undigested by the adults in his life. Although his life circumstances are not otherwise dire, he is practically poisoned by the toxic leftovers of war, genocide and the pain of heartbreak. ‘Intimate Grammar’ is listed as a children’s film and is showing in the Generation KPlus 12+ section. Really though, it is an adult film with mature themes. Nir Bergman’s film is all about the tortures of growing up. Yet anyone making profound changes in their life will relate to it, regardless of age or background. The film may be appropriate for older teens. They might be able to understand the complicated relationships amongst the adults. Affairs and breakdowns that have a decisive impact on the young protagonist, 10-year Aron . The cinematography is understated yet vibrant, and at times mesmerizing. The story has a melodic pacing holds youto the last fram. My only criticism relates to the unfortunate Berlinale presentation. The film was shown in the original version (Hebrew) with English subtitles. To confuse things,  a voice over in German boomed from loudspeakers …   For a 12 year child definitely too much! Not sure what the organizers were thinking.

Intimate Grammar (Der Kindheitserfinder ) by Nir Bergman will be showing again on Tue Feb 15 16:30 Haus der Kulturen der Welt Kino 2 (E).