Aliyah is a slow-burning portrait of Jewish Alex (Pio Marmai), a low-level drug dealer caught between dreams of something better and the burdensome reality of family ties, especially elder brother Isaac (director Cedric Kahn in a rare acting role), who constantly badgers him for loans he neither repays nor explains. When the opportunity to move to Tel Aviv arises, Alex must reconnect with his background and achieve financial security in preparation. However, Paris suddenly seems more appealing when he meets beautiful student Jeanne (Adele Haenel), and further complications arise when Isaac takes his savings. Intimate and engaging, it retains an edge of simmering menace.
Director’s Note: Elie Wajeman rounds up some amazing actors, mixing many film genres in a story of learning life’s lessons.
Directors’ Fortnight, Cannes 2012
Screening as part of the First-Time Directors strand in the 2012 IFI French Film Festival.