Synonyms

Directed by Nadav Lapid
2019
France, Israel, Germany
123 minutes
Unclassified 18+
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Proceed with caution into Nadav Lapid’s intense, neurotic fever dream about a young Israeli man who goes to Paris to erase his identity. Winner, Berlinale Golden Bear.

The film has Yoav (a brilliant Tom Mercier) turn up in Paris in the hope that France will save him from what he sees as the madness of his country. He refuses to speak Hebrew, and a dictionary becomes his most valuable resource as he walks the streets muttering in French. Things do not begin well for him. Almost immediately all his belongings are stolen, and he is alone, naked and freezing in an apartment. Temporary salvation comes in the form of his neighbours, writer Emile (Quentin Dolmaire) and musician Caroline (Louise Chevillotte), who give him clothes, some cash, and become his first friends in Paris, as he embarks on a challenging new life. Mercier's unforgettable performance defies conventional description. Spending much of the film completely naked, he imbues Yoav with a forceful anger and unpredictability. Lapid, whose previous films, Policeman and The Kindergarten Teacher, were critical looks at militarism and commercialism, here takes a scabrous view of identity and nationhood. It's not always easy to watch, but impossible to look away.

Official Competition director biography: Nadav Lapid was born in Tel Aviv, Israel, in 1975, and studied philosophy. After military service, he moved to Paris, before returning to Israel to study at the Sam Spiegel Film & Television School in Jerusalem. His debut feature film Policeman (SFF 2012) won the Special Jury Prize at Locarno in 2011. The Kindergarten Teacher played Cannes Critics' Week in 2014. Synonyms won the Golden Bear at the Berlinale earlier this year.

Lapid continues to exhibit a singular blend of intensity and absurdity, as well as a distinct attention to cinematic craft.
Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter
Few directors have understood the raw physicality of a movie camera better than Lapid.
David Ehlrich, IndieWire

Tickets

Mon 10 June
1:45pm
State Theatre
Past Event Cancel
Wed 12 June
9:30am
State Theatre
Past Event Cancel
Program Strand
Official Competition, French Films
Original Title
Synonymes
Year
2019
Classification
Unclassified 18+
Country
France, Israel, Germany
Language
In French with English subtitles
Director
Nadav Lapid
Producer
Saïd Ben Saïd, Michel Merkt
Cast
Tom Mercier, Quentin Dolmaire, Louise Chevillotte
Screenwriter
Nadav Lapid, Haïm Lapid
Cinematographer
Shaï Goldman
Editor
Era Lapid, François Gédigier, Neta Braun
Premiere
Australian Premiere
Genre
Politics & Economics, Cinephile, Festival Award Winners, Middle East, Off-Beat
Company Credits
World Sales: SBS International
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