After five years since the movie “Perfect Strangers” was released in theaters around the world, Lior Ashkenazi picked up the gauntlet and brought us the most Israeli version that could have come out of the Italian hit. It is a contemporary and relevant cult with a light-hearted and matter-of-fact plot, when in practice the film progresses in a rather predictable direction under the cliché of “Phones on the table – everything on the table”. Although the new film has reached us overseas, after no less than 18 different cultural remakes, but the new one will make you more than the rest ask: “What do I have to hide?”

And now a brief background. The bourgeois plot focuses on a bunch of childhood friends with their spouses who decide to play a rather risky game – they all place their mobile phones in the center of the table and reveal everything that is hidden inside the device. In order to criticize the sanctification of technology of recent years, the film causes the “black box” to become a kind of Pandora’s box in which all our dark lies and secrets are hidden.

Although the film is first and foremost human, Lior Ashkenazi decided to spice up his version with a variety of cultural, and very Israeli, elements that confront the characters in the face of post-trauma, parent-child relationships, infidelity or the “coming out of the closet” dilemma.

Liars of the Round Table (Photo: Courtesy of United King Films, David Scurry)

Let’s play a game

While a rare lunar eclipse is taking place in the sky, which heralds a complete contrast to what is about to be revealed, the seven friends gather around the table – and from here everything gets complicated. The game shown in “Perfect Strangers” first of all corresponds directly with the audience, when already during the screening each of the viewers plays it with his personal cell phone, in an attempt to put it aside even for only an hour and a half.

After a few scenes of stumbling between friends, which take us into the dynamics between the characters, the little lies begin to unfold. From one message to another phone call, the good friends are revealed to each other in the eyes of each other as manipulative and pretending, which made my mind run in wonder what was hiding in the phones of those around me.

Although the situations are mostly clients from the Italian original version, it was easy for me to see in the content the average Israeli who hides behind his own lies. Although the character of each of the characters is very stereotypical, it is emphasized in a way that is able to make the audience see in each of the people sitting around the table someone else from their private life. Rotem Abohav is the friend’s most mother, Guy Amir is the typical revelry man and Shira Naor in her genius represents the middle generation that grew up into the digital world.

The lie of grace (Photo: Courtesy of United King Films, David Scurry)The lie of grace (Photo: Courtesy of United King Films, David Scurry)

Technology VS Generation Y

Phones, which in recent years have become almost another organ in our bodies, represent in the film all the negatives, lies and weaknesses of each of the participants, while directly criticizing the effects of technology on today. Although it was likely that the young woman in the group would find it most difficult to get rid of the mobile phone, she is the one who appears to be the most competent or the one who does not need the mobile device to face reality.

As the phones ring, and more alerts pop up on the screen, the ball of destruction rolls and the ties between the characters fall apart before their eyes. The mobile phone, which at first thought represents discourse, social networks and global connections, is becoming a divisive factor rather than a unifying one. There is no doubt that Lior Ashkenazi, who takes his place as a director in his debut role, navigated the plot with admirable precision, which does not at all indicate his lack of behind-the-scenes experience.

Secrets Revealed (Photo: Courtesy of United King Films, David Scurry)Secrets Revealed (Photo: Courtesy of United King Films, David Scurry)

No spoilers

The Israeli version of “Perfect Strangers” has remained true to a source characterized by technological and social relevance, but there is no doubt that it would have been possible to incorporate more up-to-date elements, especially after the last two years in the world. However, the lack of preoccupation with everyday matters can actually make the film stay with us on and help it stand the test of time.

So while I’m not going to tell you how the movie ended, there’s a reference to the end as well. After all the dirty laundry was washed outside, and just like the phones too all the lies were on the table, the movie ended with countless question marks. The film’s moral, comic as it may be, is serious, dramatic and sharp. Each of us carries with him little secrets that he prefers to keep to himself in the electronic safe that is in his pocket. But the obvious question is whether it is better to put the whole truth in your face, or whether to take care to keep it close to us? Do think.

By Editor

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