Panorama | Contemporary World Cinema
Tom Mercier gives a phenomenal performance as Yoav, an Israeli ex-soldier who’s fled his country in disgust and is eager to reinvent himself in Paris. After having his possessions stolen, he’s rescued from poverty - and nudity - by Emile (Quentin Dolmaire) and Caroline (Louise Chevillotte), a wealthy, cosmopolitan couple. Yoav then gets a job at the Israeli embassy, where he gets a taste of his homeland that doesn’t go down easily…
Wacky, whimsical, and aggressively ambitious, this latest from Nadav Lapid (Policeman, VIFF 11; The Kindergarten Teacher, VIFF 14) shows us his humorous side. Yoav walks through Paris head-down, unwilling to be seduced by its beauty; he’s a man of spectacular arrogance, and his fierce determination to be born anew gives him a comical faux-grandeur that makes his collisions with reality all the more awkward. Synonyms sends up nationalism, machismo, intellectual pretensions, and more; it’s a satire with many targets, and a truly original work of filmmaking.
"Deliriously unpredictable."—Jay Weissberg, Variety
Golden Bear, FIPRESCI Prize, Berlin 19