(director/writer: Asaph Polonsky; cinematographer: Moshe Mishali ; editor: Tali Helter-Shenkar; music: Ran Bagno; cast: Sharon Alexander (Shmulik Zooler), Shai Avivi (Eyal Spivack), Evgenia Dodina (Vicky Spivak), Carmit Mesilati Kaplan(Keren Zooler), Tomer Kapon (Zooler), Alona Shauloff(Bar), Uri Gavriel (Refael), (), (); Runtime: 98; MPAA Rating:NR; producers: Naomi Levari/Saar Yogev; Oscilloscope; 2016)

“Uses humor to deal with death.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The debut feature of the young Israeli director and writer Asaph Polonsky is a well-thought out tragicomedy about the handling of grief by a couple over the loss of their young adult son to cancer.

The filmmaker uses humor to deal with death. After the shiva, seven days of Jewish ritual mourning, have ended, the grief-stricken couple, the rude Eyal Spivack (Shai Avivi) and the pragmatic Vicky (Evgenia Dodina), say goodbye to all those who called on them to express their sorrow in their modest suburban home and try to find peace after burying their son.

The elementary schoolteacher, Vicky, handles her grief on the day after shiva by being absent-minded, as she returns to work but there’s a sub teacher since she never told anyone at the school when she’ll return and she turns up late for an appointment with the dental hygienist that slipped her mind and arrogantly insists on being treated. While Eyal looks for relief by going to the hospice, where his son spent his final days, to retrieve a lost blanket but instead is given by a patient his son’s medical marijuana. He then convinces his estranged neighbors’ stoner adult son Zooler (Tomer Kapon), a sometimes friend of his son, to roll joints for them to smoke. Tragedy is highlighted later on in the film as something that is universal, when Eyal visits the cemetery and encounters another grieving man (Uri Gavriel) giving an eulogy for his sister.

It’s best moment is Kapon’s mad dog single-take air guitar extravaganza, as he struts an imaginary guitar and jumps around as if in concert.

Shai Avivi, Evgenia Dodina, and Tomer Capon in Shavua ve Yom (2016)