Aliyah: Tense Psychological Drama of Two Brothers (Jewish)

Aliyah, the new film from director Elie Wajeman, is an intense psychological drama, marked by tense atmosphere, strong acting and sharp technical execution.

The tale’s protagonist, Alex, who is 27, lives in a working-class area in Paris, selling drugs for a living. He works hard to pay off the debts of his brother, Isaac (French director Cedric Kahn), who’s becoming a real burden.

When his cousin, who has just returned from completing his military service in Israel, tells him that he’s opening a restaurant in Tel Aviv, Alex thinks that joining him might be the life-changing opportunity. This explains the film’s title, which is the Hebrew term for Jews emigrating to Israel from the Diaspora; Aliyah literally means going forward and upward.

But in order to leave, Alex must quickly find enough money and accomplish his own “Aliyah,” which involves Hebrew lessons and connecting with his Jewish roots.

There is a price to be paid: Alex also has to leave behind his beloved city of Paris, his former lover Esther, his lifelong friend Mathias, and Jeanne, a woman whom he’s just met and is smitten by.

Torn between making his aliyah, his drug selling, his complicated love life, and a destructive brother, Alex must find his own way and make a final decision.