Restoration

After his longtime business partner dies, Yakov Fidelman discovers that his antique furniture-restoration shop is in grave financial difficulty. He’s forced to deal with his estranged son, Noah, a lawyer, who, seeing no hope for the failing store, proposes building apartments above it. One day Fidelman’s new apprentice, Anton, finds a neglected piano in the workshop: an 1882 Steinway that, given a new baseboard, would be worth enough to save the store.

The elegant story lines of Yossi Madmony’s first feature yield a complex set of frayed character relations for which restoration proves an apt metaphor. Refinishing the piano’s exterior would be worthless without replacing the cracked cast-iron board holding the string tension. Marked by restrained writing, which leaves significant details open to interpretation, Restoration depicts the rich texture of modern Israeli society. Anchored by Sasson Gabay’s mesmerizing performance, Fidelman is a stoic man who uses his shop to shut out the world, clinging to the illusion that he can maintain a vanishing way of life. [Synopsis courtesy of the Sundance Institute]

Gett, The Trial of Viviane Amsalem

In Israel there is neither civil marriage nor civil divorce. Only rabbis can legitimate a marriage or its dissolution. But this dissolution is only possible with full consent from the husband, who in the end has more power that the judges.
Viviane Amsalem has been applying for divorce for three years.
But her husband Elisha will not agree. His cold intransigence, Viviane’s determination to fight for her freedom, and the ambiguous role of the judges shape a procedure in which tragedy vies with absurdity, and everything is brought out for judgment, apart from the initial request. [Synopsis courtesy of Director’s Fortnight]