Screened as part of NZIFF 2003

Broken Wings 2002

K’nafayim shvurot

Directed by Nir Bergman

Israel In Hebrew with English subtitles
87 minutes 35mm

Director, Screenplay


Assaf Amir


Valentin Belonogov


Einat Glaser Zarhin


Avi Belleli


Orly Zilberschatz-Banai (Dafna Ulman)
Maya Maron (Maya Ulman)
Nitai Gvirtz (Yair Ulman)
Vladimir Friedman (Dr Valentin Goldman)
Dana Ivgy (Iris)
Danny ‘Mooki’ Niv (Yoram)
Daniel Magon (Ido Ulman)
Eliana Magon (Bahr Ulman)


Berlin 2003


An Israeli film that could take place in any first world city, Broken Wings is a moving, acutely perceptive picture of family dynamics thrown into chaos by the loss, nine months earlier , of an adored father and husband. Dominated by the rocky relationship of mother and teenage daughter, the family is redefining itself through trial and error. Dafna, the mother, struggling to make ends meet, works as a midwife, leaving 17-year-old Maya to act as surrogate mother to 11-year-old Ido and 6-year-old Bahr. Brother Yair has dropped out of school at 16 and found a job commensurate with his world-view, handing out leaflets, dressed as a giant mouse. Maya is a promising songwriter, but the boys in the band consider her family duties a cop-out. Her fury at this injustice provokes a crisis of heart-stopping suspense: the anxiety for emotional rescue becomes almost palpable. The actors thrive with writer/director Nir Bergman’s tellingly detailed script and illuminate the volatile density of family relationships with a clarity that is as rare as it is gratifying. — BG 

"It’s been a long night’s journey into a lousy day for the Ulmans… Actually, the family’s woes began nine months back, as this tender, acutely observed first feature gradually reveals. Mounting an ensemble piece, Nir Bergman foregrounds mother and daughter: in the midst of transit between childhood and adulthood, Maya is forced partly to assume the role of loving, guilt-ridden Dafna, and both are stretched to tearing point – by the resentment and helpless anger bred not only by bereavement but by the economic hardship that results. Bergman’s script is a small wonder of elegant economy, judiciously investing in little Bahr’s melancholy, Yair’s life-is-meaningless platform (toppled when a volatile girlfriend stands on a window ledge and asks if he still thinks she’s ‘a speck of dust’), and Dafna’s first painfully awkward fumblings toward new romance. Warm yet clear-eyed and droll, always emphatic, never lugubrious, the film earns its unexpected ending many times over." — Jessica Winter, Time Out