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Baba Joon
by Marinell Haegelin

Yuval Delshad, Israel

Arriving in Israel years earlier, Iranian immigrant Baba started the turkey farm his younger son now works. Yitzak, and family, toil from dawn to dusk modernizing and enlarging the farm, while neighbors covetously watch. Expecting Moti to be enthusiastic, his son’s fascination is making things with his hands – presently, a go-kart that Yitzak appreciates, yet ignores. Moti’s dislike for turkeys and the farm is forthright; Yitzak attempts patience, whereas his caring wife runs referee. Darius, arriving from America, is respectful to Baba and complies by their ultra-orthodox observances. And, unabashedly enjoys life, reminding his brother he also once stroked mechanical aptitude. Darius talks about their father, and encourages Yitzak to relax, along with giving the boy some slack. Uncle’s encouragement and shared interests bind Moti and Darius. Yitzak’s accident causes concern: who’ll run the farm, what about the future? Issues tenuously evaded are strained, falter, and break, because of various individuals’ stubborn independence. Until, Baba offers his belt to Yitzak. Only then does the father-son correlation come full circle.

Yuval Delshad sympathetically directs this generational drama about personal dreams, goals, and parental decrees. The arid landscape accentuates the personalities involved, and wonderfully portrayed by the strong cast. Strong camera work, and minimal strings music. The message: “A tree that cannot bend, will break in a storm” resonates.