America (2022) ‘אמריקה’, directed by Ofir Raul Graizer

America (2022) ‘אמריקה’, by Ofir Raul Graizer

After the international success of critics and audiences between 2017 and 2018, The Cakemaker, the Israeli director and screenwriter Ofir Raul Graizer returns to cinemas with a film that narrates a love triangle apparently devoid of originality, but with an approach to it so personal that it is in the emotional and moral charge where we can find the keys that differentiate it from a vast majority of similar films at their starting point. These details of the plot, which in their significance could be the true point of interest of Iris’s Flower Shop, are here the most opposite to the dramatic part. The decisions made by the protagonists and the acts they carry out flourish naturally, taking advantage of the pun that its title in Spanish (Iris’s flower shop) invites me to think about once seen.

America (2022) ‘אמריקה’, directed by Ofir Raul Graizer

In fact, what is striking is that America (2022) is full of dramatic moments and situations that invite us to think about relationships as complicated concepts, but Ofir Raul Graizer shoots them to present them in a slow, sensitive way and with such a mysterious and minimalist air that one can only be carried away by the tone that it imposes throughout the entire film in a calm and peaceful way, despite offering some moments of passion and tension between its protagonists, almost always surrounded by colors, flowers and silences that allow fitting complex emotions into simple scenes.

America (‘אמריקה’)

I have read some opinions that compare America with some of Pedro Almodóvar’s films, although most of those opinions highlight that, as a melodrama, it does not offer as much or is not capable of reaching as high overall as the Spanish director does in these types of stories. In fact, I liked one of the phrases so much that I’m going to put it here, continuing with the puns related to the title of this film, and that is that Almodóvar makes a bouquet of flowers of these stories, he doesn’t try to fill 127 minutes with a single one.

America (‘אמריקה’)

A little hard, really. I, who have Almodóvar’s films pending, do not dare to be so vehement with this florist, which has enough successes to transcend this month of February, who knows if anything else. After all, there are some interesting findings that make a trip that seems like it’s going to be a long one and then isn’t worth it, and one of them is the symbolic importance of water throughout the entire film, in all its forms and tributaries. At the same time generator of fear and bringer of peace, which sustains us or suffocates us, causing as much suffering and tragedy as joy and fun. And that’s how Ofir Raul Graizer seems to understand life—or at least his proposal. He divides the film into four parts that lead to a conclusion that is satisfactory in its affectation, which is constant despite being built on characters with hieratic expressions who on rare occasions have all their sensitivity overflowing. Like a wave, which when it really appears sweeps away everything, but then leaves peace again (yes, I have abandoned the analogy of flowers for water).

America (‘אמריקה’), Amerika, La floristeria de l'Iris, La floristería de Iris

I suppose the best conclusion for this review of America is that, after watching it and commenting on what it was about and my impressions to my partner, who has seen The Cakemaker, unlike me, she really likes the similar plot with that of the previous work, which attracts her enough to go watch it. In any case, it is true that she has made an important note regarding the plot and what happened in the first one, related to a homosexual relationship between two men and it is something that does not have as much presence here, or none, or all, according to interpretations. Mine: Ofir Raul Graizer presents a friendship between two men that is so far removed from cultural questions about masculinity that it is easy to infer that behind that friendship there has been something more, making the drama itself much richer in terms of perspectives offered, but also simpler (depending on how each character approaches what happens), which seemed fine to me.

I watched and rated America ★★★ on Sunday Jan 14, 2024.

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