Dan Wolman, Israeli film director     Photo by By Etan J. Tal, via Wikimedia Commons

Tied hands is the third film of this year's ESRA Cinema Club presentation. Unlike the two previous films, Tied Hands is not a documentary, though following the screening, Dan Wolman, a world-renowned Israeli film maker, explained that he had incorporated his personal life experiences in making this compelling award winning film.

When called by the head of the Israeli Film Fund to replace Amos Gutman on a project, he learned that Gutman had AIDS. He went to visit his ailing friend who invited him to smoke "grass" with him. "I watched him use his spittle to roll the cigarette and I admit it made me uneasy." Yet Wolman said he embraced his friend and they smoked together in what Wolman described as a strange bonding ritual. Wolman drew upon this experience and other personal experiences in creating a film that doesn't preach and yet leaves the viewer with a strange sense of disquiet.

Tied Hands explores the complex relationship of a mother who, through her silence, abetted her late husband's rejection of their homosexual son. Ailing and near death, her son, a gifted dancer, returns home to be nursed by his guilt-stricken and perplexed mother. In the mother's search for marijuana to ease her son's suffering, we are drawn into the sordid world of drug addicts and pushers, prostitutes and homosexual promiscuity. We become one with Gila Almagor in her gripping portrayal of the grieving mother who discovers her son through a series of painful revelations that open the door to reconciliation and to redemption.

Wolman pulls no pulls no punches. He eschews the constraints of political correctness and allows the film's powerful imagery and lyrical cinematography to force us to come face to face with the darker side of our place in this universe.

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