Saturday, April 29, 2017

One Week and a Day: Never Too Old

Pot is like old age. They both cause memory loss, so Eyal Spivak might as well light up. He has never smoked before, but some medical marijuana happens to come his way, so it would be a shame to let it go to waste. It sounds nauseatingly quirky but the mood is scrupulously mournful throughout Asaph Polonsky’s One Week and a Day (trailer here), which is now playing in New York.

Eyal and Vicky Spivak have just finished sitting shiva for Ronnie, their son of blessed memory when their estranged friends the Zoolers finally show up. Basically, Eyal shows them to the door and their cucumber salad to the garbage. Clearly, they both surviving parents are still struggling with their grief. Returning to the hospice on a dubious mission to reclaim a blanket, old man Spivak is given a bag of you know what by the failing new occupant of Ronnie’s room.

Spivak seeks solace from its medicinal benefits, but his lack of rolling skills forces him to bury the hatchet with the Zoolers’ slacker son, known simply as Zooler. The old grouch and the sushi deliveryman will sort of renew Zooler’s lapsed friendship with Ronnie, by proxy, but Vicky is a different story.

One Week is being marketed as a pot-friendly film, but old Spivak spaces out some pretty important business thanks to his partaking. Granted, this indirectly leads to a humanistic epiphany of sorts, but he would still probably be better off if he had just said no (yes, it turns out Nancy Reagan was right all along).

This is a small film, but it has some rather touching things to say about grief, parental love, and friendship. Shai Avivi (who is described as the “Larry David of Israel, but don’t let that dissuade you) is perfectly cast as the grieving grump and Tomer Kapon is appropriately scruffy but not excessively sticky as Zooler. However, Alon Shauloff is absolutely winning as the young hospice girl the two mismatched stoners take under their wings, while Uri Gavriel completely steals the film with a devastating third act eulogy.

One Week has a great deal of human decency, but it is just desperate for the audience’s love. It is nice, but not essential. Earning a modest recommendation, One Week and a Day is now playing in New York at the Angelika Film Center.