Israeli Film Center Festival 2019 Review: RED COW

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 4 (Out of 4 Stars)

In East Jerusalem, teenager Benni (Avigail Kovari) and her most devout father Yehoshua (Gal Toren) cling to their faith and traditions while dealing with political strife and still coping with the tragic death of Benni’s mother and Yehoshua’s wife. Things become rather complicated and challenging when Benni begins having romantic and sexual feelings toward another young lady named Yael (Moran Rosenblatt) As the two begin to act on these feelings, the distraught Yehoshua remains firmly undaunted in his beliefs and his relationship with his daughter suffers as a result.

Written and directed by Tsivia Barkai Yacov, Red Cow addresses some very emotional and challenging modern issues that conflict with coventional religious beliefs. Yacov does a tremendous job of presenting these problems and courageously challenges the frailties of tradition and religion. At the same same time, the filmmaker presents the beauty and more positive aspects of the Judeo traditions and rituals. No easy answers are offered in this movie, but the entire piece is intended to provoke critical thinking and reflection. The film features extraordinary performances by its cast and is definitely an important film for anyone of any religious backgrounds to experience.

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