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Ahed's Knee(הברך‎)

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France, Israel, Germany · 2021
1h 49m
Director Nadav Lapid
Starring Avshalom Pollak, Nur Fibak, Yoram Honig, Lidor Ederi
Genre Drama

An Israeli filmmaker in his mid-forties arrives in a remote desert village to present one of his films. There he meets Yahalom, an officer for the Ministry of Culture, and finds himself fighting two losing battles: one against the death of freedom in his country, the other against the death of his mother.

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The Playlist by Caroline Tsai

There is a kind of violence in resistance and a kind of violence in complicity, too, and to that end, the characters in Ahed’s Knee are trapped in a perpetual dance with their own identity and nationality, a never-ending negotiation of morality and belonging.


IndieWire by David Ehrlich

If “Synonyms” was a howl, Ahed’s Knee is the spittle that was still left in Lapid’s mouth when it was over. It’s a smaller and less electrifying film — as contained and implosive as its title’s reference to Éric Rohmer would suggest — but also one that cuts to the heart of Lapid’s visceral genius and cauterizes the open wound at the center of his body of work.


TheWrap by Jason Solomons

The performances are striking and do much to keep the film on a tightrope. Overall, though, it’s a work of robust intellectual energy and raging conflict that could come across as hectoring and even bullying. While fizzing with ideas and ideologies about cultural freedom, it’s also a very physical film, with close ups of skin — knees, toes, torsos — and the dry crunch of the stony desert.


Variety by Jessica Kiang

Quite possibly brilliant, and very definitely all but unbearable, Ahed’s Knee is filmmaking as hostage-taking. If such language seems charged, this is Nadav Lapid: All language is charged.


The Hollywood Reporter by Jordan Mintzer

Despite all the swagger, this is not style for style’s sake. It’s more about Lapid inventing his own language: one that’s highly personal, but also tries to expand horizons at a time when films tend to resemble TV shows more and more, especially in how they’re directed.


Screen Daily by Lee Marshall

The writer-director’s evident anger is tempered and fragmented by both fatalism, games of truth and lies, self-doubt and frequent reminders, in this Biblical landscape, of the historical and geological long view. Ahed’s Knee also works, perhaps surprisingly, as a drama that crackles with a never-consumed sexual energy.


The Guardian by Peter Bradshaw

As it begins to explain more and more about what drives its leading character, the film becomes less and less interesting and the stridently melodramatic finale, as well as being highly unlikely in ordinary plot terms, feels a little bit self-exculpatory.