Opening: The Other Son

Lorraine Lévy's sensitive drama tells the Prince and the Pauper-themed story of two 18-year-old boys whose parents make the shocking discovery that their sons were switched at birth though a hospital error. The interesting twist is that one boy, Joseph (Jules Sitruk) is an Israeli Jew, and the other, Yacine (Medhi Dehbi) a Palestinian living in the West Bank. The film explores the contrasting experiences of two young men who are literally living each others' lives. The revelation has devastating emotional effects on the families; the fathers, Israeli army colonel Alon (Pascal Elbée) and Palestinian patriarch Said (Khalifa Natour), are especially angry, while the mothers try gently to reconcile their feelings about the boys they've loved and raised since birth and their biological sons, who are strangers to them. Joseph, an aspiring musician living a privileged life in suburban Tel Aviv, discovers that despite his Yeshiva education, he's technically not Jewish; Yacine, who plans to enter medical school, must deal with conflicting loyalties and his brother's feelings of betrayal. The everyday humiliations of Israeli occupation — military checkpoints, travel restrictions, Said unable to buy pain medicine — are elegantly woven into the screenplay, written by Lévy, Nathalie Saugeon, and Noam Fitoussi. Setting aside the fact that Sitruk looks no more Arab than Dehbi looks Jewish, the similarities between the young men — brothers under the skin — and their families underscore the arbitrariness of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Cedar Lee Theatre. — Pamela Zoslov

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