27 November 2011
Directed by Eran Riklis.
Classification: M, 101 mins.
Official Site: http://www.jewishfilmfestival.com.au
Language: English, German, Turkish, Hebrew English subtitles (subtitled).
Eran Riklis’s (Syrian Bride, Lemon Tree, Human Resources Manger) story of Ralph Klein, top Maccabi Tel Aviv basket ball star and 70’s coach of Israel’s team who died in 2008, is recreated for the screen through the character of Max Stoller. Returning to his native Germany as coach of the West German side, Stoller (Danny Huston) explores his past. Returning to the neighbourhood of his childhood, he encounters new Turkish residents in his former apartment and befriends a mother and daughter who have lost husband and father. Adolescent Sema returns a highly recognisable dose of teen fury at his intervention.
Klein unravels secrets long dormant as he molds his squad. It is a tough battle: not only does his Israeli family appear to disown him for abandoning them, but the German team isn’t thrilled about a Jewish coach, to put it mildly. What did team managers do during the war years? Who is really who in the network of sports officials, hostile press and even his own team?
Superb sport drama plays out against new German and immigrant generations.