From Tzivi’s August ’12 Spotlight:

The Israeli film selected for Cinema/Chicago’s 2012 summer festival is Intimate Grammar (Hadikduk HaPnimi), which also screened last Fall in our 2011 Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema.

In 2002, Nir Bergman wrote and directed Broken Wings (KnafayimShvurot), one of my favorite Israeli films, and since then he has been one of the principal writers on BeTipul, the acclaimed Israeli television series that HBO has shown here as In Treatment. So I had very high hopes for Intimate Grammar, but when I watched it last Fall, I had a mixed reaction. So I watched the film again last month and then read David Grossman’s source novel The Book of Intimate Grammar.

The main character, Aharon, is an abnormally small teenage boy. Even though he is highly intelligent and has a lively imagination, Aharon seems unable to grow into the body of a mature man.

Intimate Grammar opens with newsreels from 1948 and then skips quickly ahead to the mid-60s. We learn that Aharon’s father is a Holocaust survivor, while his mother came of age during the austerity of Israel’s earliest years as a nation. Beautiful to look at but painful to watch, I fear Bergman’s efforts are ultimately stymied by Grossman’s heavy-handed metaphors.

Two screenings are scheduled: August 22 (6:30 PM) and August 25 (2:00 PM). Both screenings are in the Claudia Cassidy Theater on the second floor of the Chicago Cultural Center. All Cinema/Chicago screenings are also free and open to the public, but space is limited, so be sure to arrive early if you want a seat.

For more information, visit

Aharon in Intimate Grammar. Photo courtesy of IsraeliFilms.

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