Writer-director Shemi Zarhin’s lovingly textured, humanely observed “The Kind Words” (Hamilim Hatovot) traces three Jewish-Israeli siblings’ (Rotem Zissman-Cohen, Roy Assaf, Assaf Ben-Shimon) paths after their mother’s premature death. From Tel Aviv to Paris to Marseilles (seeking a restaurant named Beirut), to the almost foreseeable family secret—could their real father be an Algerian Muslim? The characterizations are contemporary, but enduring. Zarhin is capable of odd, winning comedy and wrenching drama in adjacent moments. Worthy questions are asked. Elemental humor behavior answers back. Sunlight binds their journeys, always moving to the light. With Levana Finkelstein, Sasson Gabai. In Hebrew and French. 118m. DCP widescreen. (Ray Pride)
“The Kind Words” opens Friday, August 12 at Siskel.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.