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Winner of the Golden Bear at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival — and a bonafide masterpiece that deserves to be mentioned alongside “Parasite,” “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” “The Irishman,” and the rest of the major new releases this fall — Nadav Lapid’s “Synonyms” is destined to go down as one of the most thrilling, infuriating, and essential movies of 2019. And thanks to distributor Kino Lorber, American audiences won’t have to wait much longer to see it.
A sui generis work of tormented genius from the Israeli auteur behind “Policeman” and the original version of “The Kindergarten Teacher,” Lapid’s disorienting third feature is a strange and utterly singular tale about the violence of a man trying to replace one identity with another. That man, extrapolated from the director’s personal experience of fleeing to Paris because he believed that he was born in the Middle East by mistake, is named Yoav (played by newcomer Tom Mercier in a staggering debut performance), and his story begins just after he’s exiled himself to France. It’s there, running naked through his palatial Airbnb, that Yoav first encounters the beautiful young bourgeois couple who live downstairs and become inextricably entwined in...
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"It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into"--Jonathan Swift