The Schmooze

Friday Film: The Changing Face of the Israeli Family

“The Queen Has No Crown,” Tomer Heymann’s devoutly personal look at family, gay identity, and homelessness, is a document of the ideological and geographical peregrinations of one Israeli family. Recently screened at the JCC in Manhattan as part of its Feigele Film Festival, and showing August 7 at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, the film was crafted from a decade’s worth of home videos and a precious trove of 16- and 8-millimeter film given to Heymann by his father. The resulting movie has no overt dogmatic or political message, nor does it chronicle any remarkable event, such as death or illness. At heart, it’s a profoundly human look at the run-of-the-mill challenges a family faces by its very nature — and the inevitable gaps that form in the sense of home as one tribe becomes many.

The film is a bit over-long, and drags at times, but is otherwise beautifully made. Each shot — of brothers’ faces, soldiers, male posteriors — is imbued with a feeling of intimacy and almost prurient tenderness. The colors, especially those of the older footage, have a kind of jewel-toned fuzziness that can’t help but summon nostalgia. Yet Heymann’s focus is always on the mobile present of this family, one remarkable mostly for being — like most families — a source of both pain and comfort.

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Friday Film: The Changing Face of the Israeli Family

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