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  2005-01-08-Film Review:                   
Turn Left at the End of the World 

Harrison Weblog

2005 blog


San Diego Jewish Film Festival

 Turn Left at the End of the World,
and find yourself in the middle of drama
,  Jan. 8, 2005

movie file

Turn Left at the End of the Word, directed by Avi Nesher; Israel/France, 2004, 108 minutes, 35 mm. English/Hebrew/French/ Moroccan with subtitles.  San Diego Jewish Film Festival showings: 8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 17, AMC Theatres, La Jolla, and 8:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 19 at the Ultrastar Theatres, Poway.

Reviewed by Donald H. Harrison

When Sarah (Liraz Charchi) arrives with her Jewish family from Bombay, India, in a development town somewhere deep in Israel's Negev desert, Nicole (Neta Gerti), whose Moroccan Jewish family arrived there some years before, advises her to forget about writing stories about what she sees.  "Here," she warns, "you'll only have blank pages."

Sarah and Nicole in the middle of nowhere

Nicole turns out to be wrong about other things as well in this coming-of-age film, in which she seduces her teacher while her friend, the widow, acclimates Sarah's father to the passions of the desert. Sarah and Nicole only come to appreciate their mothers after crises rent the lives of both families.

At first the Indian settlers and the Moroccan Jews viewed each other with suspicionótheir instant verdicts that the others were "primitive" people. The facts that the Indians spoke English and the Moroccans spoke French and that their chief means of communication was an uncertain Hebrew, did not help matters any.  But a strike that shut down the bottling plant in their one-industry town had the unforeseen effect of bringing the two communities together in a hilarious way.

Sarah's father had played cricket in Bombay, and to pass the hours, he organized pick up games with other Indians. At first, the Moroccans watched derisively from the sidelines, but eventually they were pulled in. A touring British cricket team heard of this French-Indian cricket team in the middle of the desert and agreed to play an exhibition match against them.  The town once again had hopeómaybe the match would draw attention and bring tourists to them. After all, noted one small merchant, Las Vegas also was started by Jews in the desert!

There are numerous subplots in this charming, R-rated film, but the unifying story is the strong bond of friendship that Sarah and Nicole forge for each otheródespite the differences in their backgrounds.