Monday, April 22, 2013

God hits the Quad, as Israel's jaw-dropper of a sermon, HAMESIMA X, opens on Friday

The press materials for this you've-got-to-see-it-to-believe-it objet d'ordure calls it a "psychological and spiritual thriller," and so far as "spiritual" goes, TrustMovies can indeed imagine this oddity on a double bill with the current To the Wonder. Both imagine themselves as "spiritual" films, the difference being that Terrence Malick's movie is made by someone with a wide assort-ment of cinematic skills. HAMESIMA X, on the other hand, appears to have been cobbled together by a trio of filmmakers with, between them, maybe two-and-one-half percent of Malick's movie-making prowess. The result should see jaws dropping so fast and far that I suggest that the Quad Cinema, where the movie opens this Friday, consider staffing a nurse or two for the week's run to assist patrons whose faces have suddenly come unglued.

As written and directed by three guys (not the Stooges; that might have helped) -- Yuval Ovadia (who also edited, produced and did the sound--and acts one of the leading roles), Prosper Malka and Or Yashar (only one of whom, Mr. Yashar, shown above, has had any industry experience and also did the cinematography here) -- the movie concerns a "being" from somewhere out in space (or up above) who comes to earth in order, it turns out, to turn a member of Israel's Mossad into a very upright citizen. The Mossad? Them?!

Yes. Them. The particular guy who needs converting is a big, angry bear of a man (Shalom Sharon Raginiano, shown above, right, with co-filmmaker Malka) who's going through divorce, children trouble, health issues, you name it. As the alien and the fellow Raginiano must interrogate, filmmaker Ovadio (below) does a nice job of being "spiritual" and/or other-worldly (he has the face for it!). But compared to another (and so much better) movie of somewhat similar theme -- Man Facing Southeast -- this one is paltry indeed.

Unfortunately, almost as soon as the interrogation begins, it also becomes clear that this is simply an excuse for presenting the audience with a religious sermon. (And, yes, TM does not appreciate stuff like that masquerading as a movie.) Granted the budget here is very low. But really, wouldn't you imagine the Mossad headquarters has more than three employees, and perhaps a security guard or two?

The so-called thriller elements (a magical-but-naughty Ninja, above, and a beggar/devil who keep appearing out of thin air to make miserable the lives of our two "heroes") are more embarrassing than exciting, though the actor who plays that devil (Danny Steg, below, center) gives it his all. He also gets the the movie's best line: "Ouch."

The worst thing about Hamesima X, however, is its idiotic funda-mentalist bent. It should actually please fundamentalists of all religions -- whether Christian, Jew or Muslim -- because it preaches absolute religious faith against everything and anything else. When our alien hero tells the poor Mossad schmuck, "You're trying to be rational, logical," as though this were something wrong, you'll know you have stumbled into the thinking person's special pit of hell.

That said, I must admit that the movie does have its own brand of witless charm. There is something rather fun about having your jaw drop this far. It is possible, in fact, that  Hamesima X has inaugurated a new genre: Call it Kabbalah camp. (But for god's sake, don't send your children there!)

As noted above, the movie opens this coming Friday at Manhattan's Quad Cinema for a week's run. Elsewhere? I could not find any playdates, but on the movie's blog, I found a sentence saying, "If you want to see this movie, contact us." So here, for your perusal, is that contact link.

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