Films are most compelling when they authentically depict the human experience. The Israeli film “Shoelaces,” nominated for eight Israeli Academy Awards including Best Film, is unusually compelling because of its tender and sensitive depiction of the complicated relationship between an aging father and the special needs adult son he abandoned years earlier when his son was a young boy.
Directed by Jacob Goldwasser, himself the father of a special needs child, “Shoelaces” tells about their difficult reconnection with subtlety and gentle humor while raising serious questions about society’s attitudes toward the disabled.
The film’s focus of uniting and bonding then shifts to the thorny ethical and legal issue of whether Gadi should be allowed to make one of the most important decisions of his life.
The transition makes the rest of the film intensely gripping and emotionally wrenching, and far more touching than the reunion story it tells to this point.
Michael Rosenzweig, a former lawyer and nonprofit CEO, is a longtime Atlanta resident and AJFF enthusiast. He serves on the Festival’s Screening, Community Engagement and Programming committees.