Israeli writer-director Nadav Lapid made a splash with both his gripping debut Policeman and his follow-up The Kindergarten Teacher, but he earned his highest accolade yet with Synonyms, which picked up the Golden Bear at Berlinale. Telling the story of an Israeli man who moves to Paris and is caught adrift as he wrestles with identity, it’s a thoroughly riveting character study that consistently catches one off guard in evolving ways. Ahead of a U.S. release in October via Kino Lorber and stops at TIFF and NYFF, the new trailer has arrived.

Ed Frankl said in our review, “Relocation becomes dislocation in director Nadav Lapid’s intense, beguiling Synonyms. Winner of the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival, the story follows a young Israeli man who moves to Paris in the hope of shedding his past and remolding his identity, yet instead finds his sense of self chipped away at. This is an unsettling film about nationality and how society shapes people in a way that is difficult to entirely shake off.”

See the U.S. trailer and poster below via Indiewire.

In Paris, things do not exactly get off to a good start for the newly arrived Yoav. He knocks on the door of the flat where he’s supposed to stay, only to discover the place is empty. While he is taking a bath there, his belongings are stolen. Yet this young Israeli, who has arrived with such great expectations, will not be dissuaded that easily. Desperate to erase his origins, Yoav sees becoming French as his only hope for salvation. Step one is to replace his language. From now on, he will not utter a single word of Hebrew and his dictionary becomes his constant companion. The necessary visits to the Israeli embassy annoy Yoav – he finds his compatriots to be a total burden – but the naturalization test also has its pitfalls. And the young French couple whom he befriends has some rather strange ideas about how to help him. Based on the real life experiences of writer-director Nadav Lapid’s (The Kindergarten Teacher, Policeman), Synonyms explores the challenges of putting down roots in a new place. Yoav’s attempts to find himself awaken past demons and open up an existential abyss in this tragicomic puzzle that wisely knows how to keep its secrets.

Synonyms opens on October 25.

No more articles