Midway through day seven of the Haifa International Film Festival 2010 Dani Menkin’s Je t’aime I Love You Terminal brightened up my day.
A contemporary adventure that evokes screen romances of a bygone era, the movie shimmers with light. From the playful retro feel of the illustrated opening credits, to the verbal sparring and tender chemistry of the two lead actors against a soundtrack to fall in love with – it is a reminder that movies can be…dare I say it? Fun.
Menkin takes Ben, a modern day 29 year old Israeli Hamlet who plays the guitar and still lives with his parents, and launches the flirtatious, outrageous, and somewhat dysfunctional Emma right at him. The romantic encounter is punctuated by ever so slightly ironic commentary at critical junctures in the plot, and moves to the music of Meir Ariel, Panic Ensemble and Keren Ann. Tender, funny and fast-paced, the film strikes all the right notes and give a familiar genre a playful twist.
Musician Dani (Muki) Niv is perfect as Ben, who sweetly sleep-walks through his life, which only makes him all the more attractive to Emma. A teller of tall tales, a tease, tough and tender, surprising at every turn, Naruna De Macedo Kaplan’s Emma annoys and entices Ben.
Menkin’s first feature film (he previously directed the documentary 39 lbs of Love (2005) has a lovely sense of place as the two travelers wander through the airport, subway, and the city of Prague.
Je t’aime, I Love You Terminal
Dani Menkin, Israel/Czech Republic 2010, 80 min., English, Hebrew and Czech, Hebrew and English subtitles. Screenplay written by Hagai Lapid, Dani Menkin, Alon Benari. Starring: Dani (Mooki) Niv, Naruna De Macedo Kaplan.