Tikkun. 2015. Israel. Directed by Avishai Sivan. In Hebrew and Yiddish; English subtitles. 120 min.
In Avishai Sivan’s intense and provocative Tikkun, a prizewinner at the Jerusalem and Locarno Film Festivals, an ultra-Orthodox Yeshiva student experiences a crisis of faith—and visions of earthly delights—when his father brings him back from the brink of death. Was the young man’s improbable survival a violation of God’s will, or was it “tikkun,” a way toward enlightenment and redemption? Sivan imbues the narrative with an indeterminate, hypnotic blend of black comedy and alienated modernism, effecting a singularly uncanny atmosphere. Nonprofessional actor Aharon Traitel, himself a former Hasidic Jew, gives a nuanced, knowing performance as the anguished prodigy, and the black-and-white chiaroscuro photography casts the devoutly private, regimented Hasidic community of old Jerusalem’s Mea Shearim in a morally shaded light. A Kino Lorber release