Dir. Nadav Lapid | 123 min
Narrative | France, Germany, Israel 2019
French and Hebrew with English subtitles
Loosely based on director Nadav Lapid’s (The Kindergarten Teacher) own experiences, the film follows young Israeli ex-soldier Yoav—played by newcomer Tom Mercier, in an incredible performance—who escapes his country and past to take up residence in Paris. Armed with a pocket-sized French dictionary, Yoav refuses to speak his native Hebrew as he desperately tries to immerse himself in French society. Living on only a few francs a day, he bounces from job to job on a wildly erratic journey, attempting to assimilate into a seemingly impenetrable culture.
Unpredictable yet kinetically assured, Lapid’s lucid assault against nationhood asks if individuals can ever be fully extricated from the society into which they were born. While Synonyms is loaded with ideas about identity, both personal and national, it’s the intense emotional impact of Yoav’s experiences that resonate so strongly.
-Note adapted from the Toronto International Film Festival
Film contains adult content, themes, and nudity