›› Leave of Absence - Shabaton ‹‹

a short film by Moshe Rosenthal.

2016 | 17 mins | Israel.

a striking reflection of a life lived without the inherent joy for living.

Dave says:

Meir (Uri Klauzner); a history teacher on leave with a wife and two grown-up daughters finds himself on the wrong side of a home hair dying session, when the perfect peroxide blonde turns out to be anything but. Heading off to the local chemist in search of a cure to his predicament, Meir chances upon three of his former students who persuade him to take part in an unofficial video shoot they're doing at the local swimming pool, after hours. At first reluctant to go along with them, Meir delights the youths by not only joining in the video, but engaging in an impromptu question and answer session thereafter, before one and all jump into the pool for a moonlight swim. Only in looking at a reflection of himself in a pane of glass, Meir sees a man whose passion for life has long been dulled by the advancing years and which here has been briefly rekindled by three students living life for fun, before the reality of enlistment and a university education beckon.

Written and directed by Moshe Rosenthal, to be frank there's nothing particularly gay in this work and yet there's equally no denying that there's something quite seductive about this short. For bathed in a blue tone for seemingly the majority of the piece, it has a remarkable sensuous and carefree feel to it, courtesy of the three young men and one in particular, who all but delight in pushing the boundaries of the former pupil / teacher relationship.

Only in doing so, this introspective work stays well clear of any sexual connotations, opting not to push the envelope in that direction. That Meir's leave of absence from teaching is never explained - did he walk or was he pushed?, only adds to the mystery surrounding a man whose joie de vivre had, in truth, long given way before the conformity of middle age, having never allowed himself to be footloose and fancy-free like the ex students he now finds himself enjoying the company of. All of which makes for a striking reflection of a life lived without the inherent joy for living. Beautifully played throughout, here the words "carpe diem" do indeed, come to mind.

›› available as part of the NEW QUEER VISIONS shorts compilation - THE ISRAELI BOYS.
›› posted: Monday, 28th December, 2020.

Gay Visibility - none. 
Nudity - from the waist up. 
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars. 

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