Film

From Israel, “One Week and a Day” Offers a Stellar Tragicomic Odyssey of Grief

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Grief does strange things to people, thrusting them into fugue-like states where anger, resentment, and to-hell-with-it-all despair can lead to bizarre behavior. Writer-director Asaph Polonsky’s One Week and a Day adeptly captures that mindset via the story of an Israeli couple, Eyal (Shai Avivi) and Vicky (Evgenia Dodina), on the day after they’ve finished sitting shiva for their dead son. As schoolteacher Vicky sleepwalks through hours spent dealing with co-workers and a dentist appointment, a look of vacant desolation in her eyes, Eyal avoids visiting his child’s grave in favor of searching a hospice for a lost blanket, physically assaulting his estranged neighbors, and convincing their adult son, Zooler (Tomer Kapon), to roll some joints.

Bouncing from one unexpected incident to another, Eyal’s 24-hour odyssey is a seriocomic one in which he blindly, buffoonishly searches for some sort of relief, however temporary, from his sorrow. That his actions make little logical sense is the source of both the film’s tragedy and its comedy, the former comes by way of a late encounter with another grieving man (Uri Gavriel) at a cemetery, the latter through the most impressive single-take air-guitar performance ever committed to film, courtesy of Kapon’s weirdo. Rambling in the best manner imaginable, it’s an amusingly heartbreaking (and hopeful) portrait of misery’s messiness.

One Week and a Day

Written and directed by Asaph Polonsky

Oscilloscope

Opens April 28, Angelika Film Center