Nina's Tragedies

Director: Savi Gabizon
Screenwriters: Savi Gabizon

Institute History

  • 2004 Sundance Film Festival


Nina's Tragedies is that rare film which achieves a lusciously paradoxical "happy-sad" state, making us laugh and cry at the same time. It is also that rare Israeli film that doesn't push too hard to get us there. Writer/director Savi Gabizon unfurls a melancholic romp through the range of human emotion and experience that effortlessly transports its eccentric characters from the most mundane to the most profound moments in a single scene, all the while juggling ideas of fate and randomness, gravitas and serendipity.

Through the eyes of Nadav, a sensitive teenage boy Oedipally smitten with his beautiful Aunt Nina, we scrutinize the unpredictable machinations of adults as they stumble through excruciating loss, mind-blowing sex, bizarre coincidence, mortal illness, and even birth. At times, everyone disappoints Nadav, but in Gabizon's expansive universe, there is plenty of room for human fallibility, oddity, and diversity. Anything goes—Hassids dance in the streets with yuppies, Azerbaijani immigrants study sleep disorders, army officers write poetry, teenagers fantasize about their adulterous aunts, and a strange man wanders naked in the streets. No one exemplifies this nonjudgmental attitude better than Nadav's father, who ultimately gives his son unconditional acceptance. Whether dwelling on painful encounters (almost uncomfortably) or surprising us with whimsical twists, Gabizon gets at something uncannily real. And this raw truth, this emotional nakedness, is deeply refreshing.

— Caroline Libresco

Screening Details

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