The characters in “Broken Wings” want to fly. This desire seems literal with some characters and metaphoric with others as writer/director Nir Bergman shows them standing on the tops of walls, sitting on balconies, and even leaping from the rims of empty swimming pools.
Of course, they can’t fly, either literally or metaphorically. Nine months ago, the patriarch of the Ulman family died, leaving behind a wife and four children. His widow, Dafna (Orly Silbersatz Banai), is cautiously thinking of dating again, but the memory of her husband weighs heavily upon her. Their oldest daughter, Maya (Maya Maron), is lead singer in a promising garage band but often has babysitting responsibilities that keep her homebound. Her slacker brother Yair (Nitai Gaviratz), about her age, has a job dressing in a mouse costume and handing out fliers on the train. Their younger siblings, Ido (Daniel Magon) and Bahr (Eliana Magon), grieve in their own quiet ways. The Ulman family is only barely functioning.
“Broken Wings” isn’t a contemplation of grief, though, as much as it’s a portrait of a family in crisis, a family that must be snatched out of its rut and put back on track. And it is a touching portrait, too. It is marked by performances that are uniformly sublime and honest, most notably from Maya Maron and Orly Silbersatz Banai as angry daughter and stricken mother, respectively. Their relationship is as genuine as any I’ve seen in a film this year, so rife is it with real angst, love and emotion.
Bergman doesn’t allow hokey weeping or melodrama into his picture; instead, he sets events in motion and lets the characters react the way real people would. The effect is poignant, though at times unfocused, as there are stretches where nothing seems to be happening, nor even in development to happen. But it feels REAL, anyway, something we can relate to and experience along with the characters, even if we’ve never been quite where they are.
B (1 hr., 20 min.; Hebrew with subtitles; )