More Than I Deserve
dir. Pini Tavger, Israel, Germany, 2021, 87min
Newly arrived in Israel, a single immigrant mother and son are deeply affected by their relationship with a religious neighbor, in this finely textured coming-of-age drama. Twelve-year-old Pinhas (newcomer Micha Prudovsky) is mostly alone while his Ukrainian mom works to make ends meet. When the boy asks permission to join classmates in bar mitzvah studies, frazzled Tamara (Ana Dubrovitzki)—who resists religion—refuses. To her dismay, Pinhas turns for help to a recent Chabad recruit, bachelor Shimon (Yaakov Zada Daniel), the new relationship changing all three lives in unforeseen ways. Nominated for seven Israeli Academy Awards, this Jerusalem Film Fest Best Screenplay winner reflects uncommon emotional depth in its nuanced portrayal of the plight of immigrants to Israel.