Music is at the heart of “Five Hours From Paris,” Leon Prudovsky’s first feature film now playing in theatres. Whether it is the music of the concert stage renounced by Lina, who is a music teacher and part time usher, the French chansons that Yigal loves, or the Russian ballads that Lina’s husband Grisha sings, music represents the different worlds inhabited by the characters; their longing for all that is just beyond their reach.
Set in the city of Bat Yam, just south of Tel Aviv, but worlds apart, the movie follows Yigal (Dror Keren) a divorced cab driver who dreams of Paris but is afraid to fly. Yigal’s son is a reluctant member of the chorus at school, taught by Lina (Helena Yaralova). Arriving after rehearsals to pick up his son, Yigal’s relationship with Lina develops against the backdrop of the children singing Ali Mohar’s “Shiur Moledet” – a description of a geography lesson about an Israel of images, innocent and simple as the “beautiful childhood” recalled by the song.
Dror Keren is lovely as the gentle, hesitant cab driver. Helena Yaralova (currently recovering from serious injuries suffered in a car accident that took place October 21, on returning from a performance of the Cameri Theatre’s “Was It A Dream?” in Tiberias) is an actress whose every look and quiet moment speaks volumes. The film won the prize for best Israeli Feature Film at the Haifa International Film Festival, as well as “Discovery of the Festival” for Prudovsky and Erez Kav-El’s screenplay.