An Israeli In Paris (Film Thoughts: Synonymes)

4807139.jpg-r_1280_720-f_jpg-q_x-xxyxxNadav Lapid’s ‘Synonymes’ is one of the weirdest, oddest movies I have seen this year. And I did not sense that from the very beginning. I did not know anything about the film upon seeing it, but something about it beckoned me. I thought for some reason that it had gay content (maybe because the lead, Tom Mercier, is very attractive, or I was attracted to him) but there wasn’t really anything explicitly gay about it, although it had a lot of homoerotic energy in it.  It’s the story of Yoav, who moves to Paris after serving in the Israeli army. (This is apparently partly based on the director’s life)  Just right after being in Paris, he loses all his worldly possessions and is helped by a couple (Quentin Dolmaire and Louise Chevillotte) who clothe him and helps him gets settled. At some point you can sense there is some ulterior motive there, but then the movie goes to a totally different direction. Lapid uses Yoav body liberally – showing us all of it, and so much of it that we get to know it as intimately as we get to know what is on Yoav’s mind. But as much as we get to know him, I found that Yoav is still a puzzle towards the end of the film – the pieces we get to know don’t really all fit, and the last part of the movie got more and more bizarre. My takeaway from the film is varied – I don’t know if I was supposed to laugh, or get annoyed. One thing is for sure, though, not a second of the film was boring.

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