Floch - Part 2

Hanoch Levin and Dan Wolman
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Hanoch Levin and Dan Wolman – 1972

Elderly Floch has lost his son, daughter-in-law, and beloved grandson in a horrific car wreck. And as if that weren’t enough, the accident occurred immediately after a massive row, after which the two young parents decided to turn their backs on him and keep his beloved grandson away. In response, a dejected Floch hurls two rocks at their car; the same vehicle in which, shortly thereafter, they will meet their demise.

The film is a highly theatrical work, as one would expect of a cinematic piece penned by a playwright, and whose titular character is portrayed by one of repertoire theatre’s most seasoned actors. What is more, this feature is also highly present in the way that Dan Wolman and Hanoch Levin chose to design and stylise their mis-en-scène (take note of the composition, cinematography and as a whole, everything comprising the setting and framing.)

In the throes of depression, Floch decides to leave his wife and embark on a new life, in the course of which he hopes to meet a new woman who will have his child. “Gerda, I’m going. Don’t be angry with me,” he tells his wife in a heart-rending scene that so beautifully captures (as you would expect of a script written by Levin) the typical trajectory along the fine line between the comedic and tragic that is in the very DNA of both the Levinian screenplay and Avraham Chalfi’s character as an actor, poet, and human being.

Watching the film makes one doubly excited. Viewers will revel in a most enchanting, naïve protagonist; a ‘lower case’ man with a larger-than-life spirit whose life has shown him great cruelty and has slipped through his fingers, and who is now unable to recapture any of it. Meanwhile, poetry afficionados will struggle to suspend, whilst watching, their knowledge of Chalfi’s body of work as an actor and poet – this quintessentially sad clown who had reduced himself to the size of an anonymous dot so that his body weren’t a nuisance to the divine kingdom; who had been Yossi the sad parrot and Rumpelstiltskin, and who loved children with all his heart yet never got to have any of his own. Floch’s romantic journey is as sad as it is pathetic, however, thanks to Chalfi it is so profoundly pathetic that it must be equally as poetic.

Courtesy of Dan Wolman.

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