Esther

Amos Gitai's cinematically brilliant retelling of the Old Testament story of Esther (1985) is constructed in a series of sumptuously colored long takes. Yet under the film's splendid surface, shot by famed pre-New Wave cinematographer Henri Alekan, things don't quite mesh: individual characters clash visually with their backgrounds, and one part of a sequence seems somehow to contradict another. But such disparities encourage the viewer to play an active, thinking role in apprehending the film as a whole. 97 min.

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