6.4/10
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Past Life (2016)

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1:49 | Trailer
Past Life tracks the daring late 1970s odyssey of two sisters - an introverted classical musician and a rambunctious scandal sheet journalist - as they unravel a shocking wartime mystery that has cast a dark shadow on their entire lives.

Director:

Avi Nesher

Writer:

Avi Nesher
6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Nelly Tagar ... Nana Milch-Kotler
Joy Rieger ... Sephi Milch
Doron Tavory ... Baruch Milch
Evgenia Dodina ... Lusia Milch
Tom Avni ... Jeremy Kotler
Rafael Stachowiak Rafael Stachowiak ... Thomas Zielinski
Muli Shulman ... Uri Lotan
Katarzyna Gniewkowska ... Agnieszka Zielinska
Gilat Ankori ... Manya Zonenshein
Orna Rotenberg Orna Rotenberg ... Rivka Hen
Lenny Cohen Lenny Cohen ... Alona
Avi Kornick Avi Kornick ... Dudush
Keren Tzur Keren Tzur ... Dr. Haber
Arie Tcherner ... Romek (as Aryeh Cherner)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Nitzan Rotschild Nitzan Rotschild ... Young Baruch Milch
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Storyline

The year is 1977, and no female has ever been a renowned classical music composer. Sephi Milch, a very determined and talented young woman, aspires to a career as a classical composer, but she knows the odds are against her. In spite of this, she is dead set on changing the course of history and succeeding in the male-dominated classical music world. Her struggle with the burden of history is not only limited to her artistic life - as the daughter of troubled Holocaust survivors, she also has to deal with a sudden revelation from the past that threatens to tear her family apart. Nana Milch - Sephi's older sister and bitter rival, a scandal sheet journalist and an aspiring playwright - considers this startling revelation an opportunity to free herself from the stranglehold of her parents' past. Sephi is weary of her sister's tendency to look for trouble, but in this case she has no choice but to join Nana's quest for the truth. 1977 is the year Egyptian president Sadat decided to break...

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Their father survived World War II. But the unsettling truth about how will change their family forever.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Israel | Poland

Language:

English | German | Polish | Hebrew

Release Date:

2 June 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ha'khata'im See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$14,960, 4 June 2017

Gross USA:

$180,099

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$191,678
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

D-Cinema 48kHz 5.1

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Nelly Tagar actually did pee on her baby sister in real life when she was a little girl. She told the story to Avi Nesher, the director. He loved it so much he put it into the script See more »

Goofs

Although the movie is set in January 1977, there is a poster of the movie "Saturday Night Fever" plastered on a wall behind the two main characters. However, that movie was not released until the fall of 1977. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Sisters of conflict
1 June 2017 | by ferguson-6See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. Renowned Israeli filmmaker Avi Nesher tackles the familiar topic of Holocaust survivors and drops in a related family mystery, two dueling and personality-opposite sisters, plus numerous sub-plots including: arguing spouses, musical sexism (it's a thing), cancer, and a cross-country investigation. The film was inspired by the autobiography of Dr. Baruch Milch, who is the father of the rival sisters and whose past actions are at the core of the investigation.

It's 1977 West Berlin, and after successfully performing a solo during a concert, no singer wants to be grabbed by a crazy-eyed old lady and accused of being the daughter of a murderer … an act exacerbated by the fact that the accusation is in a language she doesn't understand. This is exactly what happens to young Sephi Milch (played well by Joy Rieger, who reminds of a late 1970's Amy Irving). It's an unsettling moment for Sephi and when she mentions it to her dissident older sister Nana (Nelly Tagar), who also happens to be a journalist/editor, the girls unite for an investigation that will take them deep into the mysterious past of their father.

The sisters of conflict are never really on the same page, as Nana is relentless in pursuit of the truth while the more reserved Sephi can't see the benefit to uncovering something that could tear the family apart. Also, Sephi is focused on her dream of becoming the first respected female classical composer in history. In an odd twist of fate, it's the son of the accusing crazy lady who is instrumental (apologies for the pun) in helping Sephi purse her goal. Thomas Zielinski (played by Rafael Stachowiak) is a well known conductor who is either a creepy guy (with an even creepier mother) with amorous intentions toward Sephi or a generous guy in a position to help the rising star.

The story could have been interesting enough with this foundation, but it becomes cluttered with side stories that actually bog down and divert our attention from what we care about. Doron Tavory plays Dr. Baruch Milch, and though his being a lousy father doesn't make him a murderer, it certainly allows for doubt in both the girls and the audience. Often, the film feels like a jigsaw puzzle with missing pieces … or worse, including pieces from a different puzzle.

Taking place at a time when Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was working towards a peaceful accord with Israel, the film also acts as a reminder that war pushes people into actions that might be out of character, yet necessary in the moment. Should these digressions be forgiven or become one's lingering shadowy legacy? The clashes with past and present, historical and modern, confuse these issues and divert our attention away from two sisters trying to understand the impact of their father's actions during WWII on their family today. The rest is just noise … disguised as beautiful music.


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