The time is 1968. The summer of love has come and gone in the United States, and Israel has just come out of the Six-Day War. Teenaged Arik dreams of becoming a war hero as he grows up in a quiet, respectable Haifa household, and like the rest of the inhabitants of the city, he prefers not to talk about his family’s past as Holocaust survivors. Arik meets the daunting and affably sad matchmaker Yankele Bride, a childhood friend of his father’s from the old country and a fellow survivor, and is swept into a job as his assistant.
Arik relishes his days working for Yankele in the so-called Lower City, a portside neighborhood bustling with sailors, outcasts, prostitution, gambling, contraband and movie theaters. Yankele sees matchmaking as his life’s mission, and “specializes in special people,” who he fears are at risk of a life without love. Arik works as a novice detective for him, scouting potential matches and uncovering their private lives and daily habits.
After his long days sleuthing for Yankele, Arik spends his summer nights hanging out with his best friend Beni, and Beni’s gorgeous Iraqi cousin Tamara who is visiting from the States for the summer. Tamara gives the buttoned-up Haifa youth scene a healthy and welcome introduction to free love and rock ‘n roll, and ultimately falls deeply in love with Arik. While a cascade of romance touches everyone around him, Yankele yearns in vain for the wounded heart of his glamorous friend and companion Clara, a Holocaust survivor shunned by a society that suspects she prostituted herself in the camps to survive. Top Israeli filmmaker Avi Nesher’s THE MATCHMAKER is a tender, refreshing observation of the emotionally ripe and eccentric social fabric of 1960s Israel and a rich celebration of the human need for love.
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THE MATCHMAKER is a partial literary adaptation, inspired by When Heroes Fly by Amir Gutfreund, the renown Israeli author of Our Holocaust. Director Avi Nesher’s other films include Dizengoff 99, The Troupe (Sing Your Heart Out), Turn Left at the End of the World and Secrets.
THE MATCHMAKER Israel, 2010, 112 min. In Hebrew with English subtitles. Written and Directed by Avi Nesher. Inspired by Amir Gutfreund’s novel, When Heroes Fly. Produced by Moshe Edery, Leon Edery, David Silber, Avraham Pirchi, David Silber, Chilik Michaeli, Avi Nesher, Tami Leon and Natan Caspi. Co-producers: Shlomo Mograbi, Rami Damri and Eviatar Dotan. With: Adir Miller, Maya Dagan, Dror Keren, Dov Navon, Tuval Shafir, Neta Porat, Yarden Bar-Kochva, Bat-el Papura, Kobi Farag, Yael Leventhal, Tom Gal, Eyal Shechter. Camera: Michele Abramowicz. Editor: Isaac Sehayek. Music: Philippe Sarde. Art Direction: Miguel Markin. Costume Design: Rona Doron. Sound: Yisrael David.