Bureacracy Collides With Compassion in The Human Resources Manager
Tender irony and dark humor abound in Israeli director Eran Rikliss latest account of bureaucracy colliding with burgeoning compassion. This follow-up to 2008s Lemon Tree, based on the novel A Woman in Jerusalem by A.B. Yehoshua, hits the road when the restless personnel director (Mark Ivanir) of a large Jerusalem bakery is forced by his employer (Gila Almagor) to accompany the body of Yulia, a slain former employee, to her Eastern European home. Once there, hes joined by the put-upon local consul (Rosina Kambus, whos quietly hilarious), her pliant husband, and the dead womans surly son (Noah Silver). A muckraking journalist (Guri Alfi) known as the Weaselthe deceased is the only character called by namealso tags along to needle the brooding functionary. While the coffin-laden road trip echoes Faulkners As I Lay Dying in its gradual accumulation of absurdities, the point is neither to underscore how death unravels the lives of surviving loved ones (indeed, it has the opposite effect here) nor redeem the titular hero, but to reveal how respect for the humanity of others is a tenuously organic process. Like Mr. HRs growing regard for poor Yulia, Rikliss understated grasp of his storys wider implications pays rich dividends.
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