Koko is 19

1 hour and 29 Minutes and 45 seconds , 1985
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Directed by: Danny (Nokyo) Verete
Cast: Udi Cohen, Meir Dadon, Shifra Haefrati
Koko is 19, the title of director Dan Verete’s feature-length debut is in fact a response to Noa at 17 (1982) – an earlier film by Verete’s peer, director Isaac Zepel Yeshurun. Noa at 17, the earlier of the two films, followed the coming-of-age journey of Noa – an Ashkenazi, Tel Avivian teenager, set against the backdrop of the kibbutz movement’s steady decline, whereas Verete’s film is a social drama that employs an amateur cast and a neorealist aesthetic to depict an altogether different Israeli coming-of-age narrative: this is the tale of Koko, an Israeli of Mizrahi (Middle Eastern Jew) descent, who lives in a working class part of Jerusalem and is in a rock band. When a straightlaced, middle class musical group covers Koko’s song, it becomes an instant hit, only Koko gets to reap none of the rewards and ends up falling into a life of crime.

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