The concept of “the parents not knowing their children” has been presented on global cinema many times, usually in extreme fashion, through films that range from “We Need to Talk About Kevin” to “The World of Kanako”. Yuval Aharoni takes the concept and adapts it to an LGBT theme, with an approach, though, that is anything but extreme.
Heritage is screening at the Slovak Queer Film Festival
Noam, a young gay man, discovers that his father, who just died, had a secret affair with a married man, unbeknownst to anyone. Not knowing what to do with this information, since he cannot share with the rest of his family, he becomes firstly depressed and then curious. His curiosity leads him to follow (stalk one could say) and then meet the man, with their meeting eventually leading to sex, but his actions do not offer any solution or solace and his situation becomes even worse. Sex seems like a solution but even that proves futile and rushed.
Yuval Aharoni directs a short that seems to deal with the difficulty of being oneself, particularly as a gay man of the previous generation. The difference between the past and the present are revealed through Noam’s situation, who is openly gay (partially at least) in contrast to Uri’s (his father’s lover) who needs to hold up appearances of a straight family man, and hide his true sexual orientation. However, the fact that Noam cannot accept that his father was hiding this secret for so long, and his subsequent reactions, along with his mother’s complete lack of knowledge, seem to state that for the previous generation, Uri’s “road” was the only way.
The ending, along with Noam’s overall reaction leaves much for the audience to interpret, but this could be because this is a short of 25 minutes and not a full feature. The only certain, additional comment, seem to be that sex is not the solution for problems like the ones presented on the movie.
Visually, the film is quite good, with Amit Chachamov’s cinematography using an approach that lets the audience feel as if they are picking on the action (occasionally through Noam’s eyes) while at the same time induces it with noir aesthetics, particularly in the family house scenes. The out of focus close ups on Uri’s face seemed to me a bit too “artsy”, but not to a point to fault the overall quality of the short in that department. Roten Murat’s editing allows the film to unfold through a mellow pace, which suits the film’s aesthetics perfectly.
Avi Mazilah highlights Noam’s inner struggle convincingly, despite the role’s laconic premises, while Dvir Benedek as Uri is quite good as a man afraid of his situation but also eager for (physical) connection.
“Heritage” is an interesting short that presents a very serious issue through a story that is quite captivating. Definitely deserves a feature version.