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With Jim Sabatini

The Other Son

The Other Son
Jules Sitruk and Mehdi Dehbi

Rated: PG-13 or a scene of violence, brief language and drug use.
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: November 16, 2012 Released by: COHEN MEDIA GROUP

This new touchingly humanistic, well-acted family drama (in French/English/Arabic/Hebrew with English subtitles) may lean a bit towards the Israeli side when it comes to the viable divide with their Palestinian counterparts.
French/Jewish Lorraine Levy directs The Other Son presents the resentment and placatory when it comes to two young men of Israeli and Palestinian descent inadvertently switched at birth (due to events promulgated by the 1991 Gulf War).
Joseph (Jules Sitruk), an 18-year-old musician had his childhood across the "enemy" wall from Paris-educated upcoming medical student Yacine (Mehdi Dehbi) where Israel is separated from the West Bank of the Gaza Strip.
In the script co-written by Levy, Joseph's blood test necessary to enter the Israeli army uncovers the truth with their families trying to deal with the stressful situation. Joseph's Jewish heritage comes into question and anti-semitic loathing from Yacine's brother. The parents are torn at first with the fathers reluctant about meeting their actual grown-up son which the mothers desire.
As mentioned it seems that Levy way of enervating the tension is for the more nuanced Israeli characters to have more of a chance to express themselves; not that the Palestinians (as Yacine seems to be more of a malleable presence) don't have their quality time. Furthermore, the tenuous setting within Israel and its border is other than roughhewn.
Nevertheless, The Other Son unfolds with a gentle conviction thanks in part to the way the cast supports the filmmaking stance against the prevailing views, especially Dehbi and Sitruk. A fanciful optimism is well-earned in thoughtfully rendered scenes relating to issues of one's identity, most notably when Joseph relates his talented musical background to his Arab birth kin.

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