Arik, a teenage boy growing up in Haifa in 1968, gets a job working for Yankele Bride, a matchmaker. Yankele, a mysterious Holocaust survivor, has an office in back of a movie theater that shows only love stories, run by a family of seven Romanian dwarves in the seedy area by the port. Yankele introduces Arik to a new world, built on the ruins of an old one. As Arik begins to learn the mysteries of the human heart through his work with Yankele, he falls in love with Tamara, his friend Beni's cousin. Tamara has just returned from America and is full of talk of women's rights, free love and rock and roll. The disparate parts of Arik's life collide in unexpected, often funny and very moving ways as he lives through a summer that changes him forever. Avi Nesher's latest film mixes comedy with drama as it tells a coming-of-age story unlike any you've ever seen before.
I am the writer/director of the film "The Matchmaker", now playing in your local cinema.
I was born in Israel, but spent most of my adolescence in New York where I studied at the Ramaz Yeshiva, so I could keep up my Hebrew. I also studied at Columbia University, and immediately after graduation went back to Israel to serve in the Special Forces of the IDF. I am at home in both America and Israel. Now, I choose to live in Israel, making films in Israel.
Like many Sabras, I had a very difficult time understanding and accepting that the European Jews, like my parents, were ever so hapless during wartime in Europe.
We Israelis were brought up as the "new Jews" and the "super Jews". Empathy toward Holocaust survivors was discouraged. Indeed, we are guilty of a great sin. Our parents suffered greatly "there" and we offered no sympathy "here".
I wrote and directed the film "The Matchmaker" as an homage to my parents. I believe that no matter what the question is, love is always the answer. The film focuses on love to ease survivors' suffering. My parents used much love to create a life for my sister and me, and as sane a life as was possible for them under the circumstances. I find this hugely admirable and a true life lesson.
"The Matchmaker" is my way of sharing my parents' worldview with cinemagoers around the world.
Enjoy the film,
Learn more about The Matchmaker, and watch the film's trailer here!
May 19, 2011 – The 25th Israel Film Festival closed tonight in NYC with a screening of the Panavision Audience Choice Award winning film – Avi Nesher’s The Matchmaker.
Set in 1968, The Matchmaker follows Arik, an Israeli-born teenage boy who gets a summer job with a mysterious matchmaker named Yankele Bride. Bride takes him on a dangerous coming of age ride into the urban underbelly of Haifa during the time of the Six-Day War.
“This NY edition of the Israel Film Festival has been the most successful in the festival’s 25-year history,” says IFF Founder and Executive Director Meir Fenigstein. “The awareness that US filmgoers have of Israeli films is growing every year. Israeli films have been winning awards and fans around the world lately and audiences want to join in on the excitement."
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"A coming-of-age story that is not only unusual but deeply felt and skillfully made... A thoroughly satisfying rumination on the necessity of love. (Avi Nesher) weaves an entirely believable and yet frequently enchanted milieu... that finds that difficult balance between sentiment and sentimentality."Read more
"Beautiful, Honest, Insightful... 'The Matchmaker' is a surprise... as satisfyingly eccentric and unexpected as anything we've seen."
"Make a date with ‘The Matchmaker’
A unique coming-of-age story... Terrific. Exotic and yet familiar, Fellini-esque, haunted by the ghosts of the Holocaust and boasting a score by French master Philippe Sarde (“Tess”) and cinematography by Michel Abramowicz (“Taken”), “The Matchmaker” is a fascinating Euro-Israeli rite of passage story. Another noteworthy catch by distributor Menemsha Films. See this.”