TIFF15 REVIEW: Yaldey Mafteah [Latchkey Kids] [2015]

Score: 7/10 | ★ ★ ★

Rating: NR | Runtime: 22 minutes | Release Date: 2015 (Israel)
Studio: Tel Aviv University Film & Television Department
Director(s): Elad Goldman
Writer(s): Elad Goldman

“Don’t ruin this for me”

Love takes many forms and sometimes they can be confusing when you’ve never experienced a divide. For Gur (Yoav Rotman) and Daniel (Gaia Shalita Katz), growing up with absentee parents and for all intents and purposes raising each other has cultivated a deeply rooted bond. They’ve promised to never leave the other alone and they mean it. But while Daniel has matured to the point of understanding that loyalty stems from a familial place, Gur still cannot separate a sense of ownership in her love. It has crippled him to become uncomfortable with his girlfriend Osnat’s (Tamara Friedland) desire for a sexual evolution in their relationship. And it has filled him with jealous rage towards whatever boy Daniel decides to bring home.

Yaldey Mafteah [Latchkey Kids] becomes a rather intriguing watch as a result of this because it’s hard to separate the concept of incest from the idea of being over-protective. Writer/director Elad Goldman takes care to never truly push it to the dark places a more twisted mind utilizing the horror genre would, but the connotation is hard to ignore. It becomes the duty of the actors to overcome this taboo with an honesty to their performances that makes their actions believable in context with the sheltered lives devoid of an adult hand to steer them they’ve led. I don’t think anything sexual would ever occur between them, but it surely could from the outside looking in like where Evyatar’s (Hillel Cappon) potential suitor to Daniel resides.

Rotman and Katz are fantastic in their roles, changing from the happy calm of routine and comradery to the pained response of lies and manipulation. Gur’s world is collapsing around him as their age exceeds the constraints of where their bond has taken them. Daniel’s already has fallen—this is why she seeks the comfort of a normal romantic love to complement the platonic one shared with her brother. It’s as much a desire for joy as it is an escape from the stifling atmosphere that’s grown at home. Even so, blood is thicker than water and at a certain point she does have to choose. No matter what her head says, her heart will ultimately prevail. She may not be quite as ready to let go as she thinks.

Courtesy of TIFF

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