Hayuta and Berl, an elderly couple, retired pioneers, and devout romantics, find it hard to adjust to today’s life in Israel and to the social changes surrounding them. After years of struggle, the two refuse to let go of their communal dreams, and of their revolutionary plans to build a welfare state in Israel. During a night of painful disillusionment, the two decide to end their lives together, thus putting a stop to the physical and spiritual suffering which fills their last days.
Thus runs the plot of Israeli filmmaker Amir Manor’s feature debut Epilogue (Hayuta ve Berl), which recently screened at the Venice Days.
The filmmaker’s experience as a journalist and as an educator progressively led him to feel increasingly disappointed with Israel’s new society, and Epilogue is the expression of this disillusionment embodied on screen by the characters of Hayuta and Berl.
“Their personal story becomes one with the story of a society that has renounced its original values and the idealism that established its institutions, paved its roads, and constructed its buildings [and] that claimed the lives of dozens of pioneers who died of hunger and sickness, sacrificing their lives for the establishment of the state of Israel,” the director told the Venice Days.
Hayuta and Berl, played by Rivka Gur and Yosef Carmon, are loosely inspired by Manor’s late grandparents who belonged to the generation of pioneers who hoped to build another model of society for Jewish people in the fifties.
“One day, as I was writing, my late grandmother sat next to me, and in a moment of heartbreaking honesty, admitted that her greatest pain was that she felt useless, transparent and marginal. She explained that since economic value is the only criteria determining the individual’s presence, power and value, she has become a marginal component of the social fabric. [...] The personal value accumulated by years of life experience, by years of giving and doing for society, contributing and creating, is meaningless in the new world of economic objectification.”
Epilogue is produced by Norma Productions and distributed by Urban International Distribution.
Read the film's review in Variety here.