- A film that’s at once global and deeply personal, Five Years After the War features a young man named Timothée Dray sharing how he grew up trying to make sense of a complicated identity.
- The product of a ‘hook-up’ between an Iraqi refugee and a Jewish Parisian, Dray had difficulty placing himself within the modern world.
- Further complicating matters, he had no contact with his father, which meant he envisioned him as a cross between Darth Vader, Osama bin Laden and a brave exiled revolutionary.
- As Dray narrates his life story, a filmmaking team led by his cousin, the French director Samuel Albaric, borrows from his cultural references to animate the piece with a wide range of colourful styles. The lone exception is a touching live-action sequence in which Dray at long last meets, and demystifies, his father Jaffar Abdalla.
- With striking honesty and a rich visual verve, Albaric combines the mundane and extraordinary in Dray’s journey to weave an epic coming-of-age tale.
- I couldn't make much of this. I didn't 'get' the title. Which war? There’s a reference to – and a film of – Timothée Dray’s having met his father 5 years earlier, but there was no ‘war’.
- We didn't really get much information on either of Timothée Dray’s parents: his Jewish mother was described as a ‘single parent’ when she formed the temporary liaison with his father, but we don’t hear anything of Dray’s siblings. Nor do we get to know anything specific about his Iraqi father.
- It’s all about finding a place to fit in to society and, with a – presumably – Muslim father, Dray finds this difficult in a Jewish milieu.
- But it’s not clear why he should thereby slip into phantasy and idle pot-smoking when he grows older. After all, there are so many single mothers these days and their children presumably just get on with life.
- It was good to see him pull himself together, learn about Iraqi history and become a teacher.
- There was a – for me obscure – reference to the ‘Rabbi Jacob’ film at his Talmud Torah class. The film is described here: Wikipedia: The Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacob. It seems rather whacky, and I can’t see why it should be important for Parisian teenage Jewish identity.
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- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2022
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