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‘Ahed’s Knee’ Trailer: Nadav Lapid’s Israeli Drama Challenges Regimes with a Sardonic Smile

The film won the 2021 Cannes Jury Prize before screening at TIFF and NFF.

"Ahed's Knee"

“Ahed’s Knee”

Cinetic

“All you’re about to see is true. Just pay attention to the style.”

Nadav Lapid’s 2021 Cannes Jury Prize–winning film “Ahed’s Knee” oscillates to a different rhythm in a heart-pounding trailer, as IndieWire can exclusively premiere.

“Ahed’s Knee” centers on Y. (Avshalom Pollak), an Israeli filmmaker who travels to a remote village to present one of his films. He soon meets Ministry of Culture officer, Yahalom (Nur Fibak), who calls into question his life’s purpose. Per a synopsis, Y. finds himself “fighting two losing battles: one against the death of freedom in his country, the other against the death of his mother,” with whom he co-wrote his films.

Similar to Y., Lapid worked closely with his own mother, who edited his first three feature films and died soon after finishing Lapid’s critically acclaimed “Synonyms.”

Writer-director Lapid is “Israel’s most vital auteur,” according to IndieWire’s David Ehrlich. “It’s all clashes and collisions and the violent tug-of-war between heart and mind that happens inside real people living among the ruins of fascism,” Ehrlich wrote in his review of the film.

The title of the film is rooted in the story of Ahed Tamimi, the real-life Palestinian activist who became a household name on both sides of the border after her protest against Israeli police inspired a lawmaker to tweet that the 17-year-old girl should be shot in her kneecap.

“Tamimi’s knee…remains potent symbolism in a movie that repeatedly fixates on extreme close-ups of the body parts that most directors tend to ignore,” Ehrlich wrote. “Tamimi’s knee, a symbol of strength and servility in equal measure, therefore becomes something of a Rosetta stone for the rest of the film that uses it as a namesake, as Lapid wrestles with the cost of flexing in the face of an oppressive government, and also the value of bending when the only other option is to break.”

“Ahed’s Knee” screened at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival and 2021 New York Film Festival. The Kino Lorber–distributed film is slated to premiere in New York March 18 at Film at Lincoln Center, with a nationwide rollout and digital release to follow closely after.

Watch the trailer below.

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