Hamesima X's Overwrought Mysticism Is Saved By Human Drama

Constructed as a Socratic dialogue in an Israeli government interrogation room, Hamesima X sees a hard-drinking, hardass Mossad agent questioning an untraceable stranger who somehow infiltrated a top-secret facility. The prisoner (played with gentle confidence by co-director Yuval Ovadia) takes control of the conversation immediately, directing it away from concrete issues of "Who are you and why are you here?" to the more existential question: "Who are we, and why are we here?" Unknown to the investigator (Shalom Sharon Raginiano), the interrogee is a visitor from beyond with a mission to spread the secrets of the Kabbalah. Which he does, aided by stock-footage montages whenever he gets long-winded. The filmmakers add personal stakes to the evangelism—the investigator's marriage is teetering on collapse, and his father just died, bequeathing to him a troubling drawing of Holocaust-era persecution—dilemmas and secrets the prisoner's unearthly knowledge can help with. And the alien has troubles of his own, confronting ninjas in psychic battle (plus some impressive kung fu courtesy of Eli Ivgi) and avoiding temptation from a demonic hobo known as the Beggar King. The mysticism chokes a bit on its own tail, but is tempered by the underlying human drama.

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