Venice Film Review: ‘The Testament’

Venice Film Review: ‘The Testament’
Though it may play better in festivals with a Jewish focus, to secular audiences, the main thrust of Amichai Greenberg’s sincerely intentioned but unnecessarily dour debut “The Testament” is difficult to fully invest in. It details a rigorously, frostily devout Jewish Israeli historian who discovers that the founding principle of his unyielding worldview is false. It’s a potentially engaging, provocative topic, and criss-crosses with a richer subplot about a long-buried Holocaust mystery in clever and illuminating ways, but the film’s overall power is hampered by its forbiddingly unsympathetic lead character. Given little reason to care about this man, it’s hard to care about his spiritual identity crisis.

Yoel (Ori Pfeffer) is a leading Holocaust scholar working in a state-of-the-art research institute in Jerusalem — the wide shots in this location, with its clean, modern lines that seem to suspend people in white space above densely packed bookshelves, are
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