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Lost Islands:  A Film by Reshef Levi  cover photo

Lost Islands: A Film by Reshef Levi 2008


Distributed by First Run Features, 630 Ninth Avenue, Suite 1213, New York, NY 10036; 212-243-0600
Produced by Moshe Edry, Leon Edry, Mosh Danon, David Silber, United King Films, Inosan Productions, Metro Communications
Directed by Reshef Levi
DVD, color, 88 min.

General Adult
Israel, Family

Date Entered: 12/15/2014

Reviewed by Sheila Intner, Professor Emerita, Graduate School of Library & Information Science, Simmons College GSLIS at Mt. Holyoke, South Hadley, MA

All the functional and dysfunctional elements of Israeli life are portrayed in this lengthy autobiographical film that follows the large, boisterous Levi family for several years during the 1980s. The film opens with scenes of the Levis—parents and their sons, including twins Ofer and Erez—watching television, laughing and joking together, dancing around their living room, and taking fun-filled vacations in an old Chevrolet car, which they jolt into action by pouring whiskey into its gas tank. Avraham, the father, lectures his sons about fulfilling their dreams. Sima, the mother, preaches absolute family loyalty. For the most part, here is a sweet happy family.

The next half hour focuses on the twins’ rather wild night life, they and their friends’ obsession with and hunger for sex, and the introduction of their female friends. Despite years of increasing sexual openness in films, this reviewer found the banter in this part of the film banal and off-putting. Despite the likelihood that teenagers won’t hear anything they haven’t heard before in it, it seems unsuitable for high school or youth audiences.

Then, Neta, a new young woman moves to the neighborhood and the twins fall in love with her. Ofer declares his interest in her first, so Erez keeps hands off despite his growing feelings for her. After a night of innocent partying on the beach, Erez and Neta go to Avraham’s office to get bus fare, but they catch him romancing his secretary. They sneak away without being seen, but, angered by his father’s disloyalty, Erez punctures a tire on his car, parked outside. Later that day, Avraham has an auto accident and is paralyzed. Meanwhile, older brother David decides to become a plumber and marries a neighbor he has impregnated, not the woman his parents prefer. Avraham scorns him and refuses to attend the wedding. Ofer changes his mind about serving in an elite military unit so he can be near home both to continue his romance with Neta and help care for his father; but, Ezer, anxious to get away from home and his guilt over the accident, chooses to serve in a combat unit in Lebanon.

The family tensions increase and the twins’ unhappiness with their life choices deepen. David moves away and does well with his wife and new baby. But, resolution of the rest of the Levi family’s conflicts consumes the balance of the film. Here, finally, is the crux of the film. It is a compelling portrayal of universal emotions and issues that make the film worth viewing.

A word about the introductory commercials on this and other DVDs being marketed via EMRO: DVDs sold for educational purposes to academic institutions, including libraries, ought to have these “coming attractions” deleted. They consume an inordinate amount of valuable viewing time and are of no value for educational audiences. As a reviewer, I resent having to fast forward through them before getting to the feature presentation.