At first I thought I was getting in over my head when I agreed to reviewing In Search of Israeli Cuisine as I know very little about their food. Having grown up Italian, give me a film on Italian food and I’m right there. However, I found this film not just about food, but about the State of Israel, its nation and its people. Delighted with the movie I could not stop watching it till the final frame, it’s an eye opener.
First let’s talk about Israel itself. In comparison with size the country is about the size of New Jersey. Open a map of the USA on your computer and look at the sizes of the states. New Jersey sits as a portion of the Eastern rim of the country just below and partially adjacent to the state of New York and Pennsylvania. Now look at the two states I just mentioned, New York and Pennsylvania. Their land mass individually is bigger than New Jersey. Compared to America as a whole New Jersey’s a small landmass. Now you have the picture of a small Jewish State that is trying to survive in the Middle East.
During the film, chef/guide Michael Solomonov born in Israel and raised in the USA talks about the various dishes that are the favorites of Tel Aviv and the many small towns in their nation. His motive is to recapture his heritage and find recipes from Israel and the neighboring countries that he can use in his restaurant Zahav in Pittsburg USA. What he finds out however, opens a new world of cooking, an understanding of the people and a heartfelt visit to his homeland that he shares to the world through the film.
Directed and written by Documentarian Roger M. Sherman, his camerawork and storytelling in the documentary are lasting and even compelling at times. He captures amazing vistas of not only Tel Aviv, but the smaller towns that are dotted around the State of Israel. It’s a veritable learning session of how the people live, their crops, cooking and their religious observances that are a huge part of their food.
If you have a chance to see the film in your city, do so as it will open up a perspective of the tiny nation that you may not have been aware. The documentary has not been rated, but there is no offensive material so it should be acceptable for the whole family. The movie has been released in English, Hebrew and Arabic with English Subtitles.
FINAL ANALYSIS: An eye-opening film that gives some interesting pointers on life and cooking.
Additional Film Information:
Cast: Michael Solomonov
Directed by: Michael Solomonov
Genre: Documentary, Food
MPAA Rating: Not Rated, no offensive material
Running Time: 1 hr. 36 min.
Release Date: May 5, 2017
Distributed by: Menemsha Films
Released in: English with subtitled Hebrew and Arabic conversations