מיתה טובה

Germany, Israel 2015

Synopsis

Yehezkel, 72, lives in a retirement home in Jerusalem with his wife Levana. Yehezkel is the resident inventor, always coming up with new and original ways of making everyone's life a little easier. When his best friend Max, who is suffering from a terminal illness, asks Yehezkel to help him end his life, he feels compelled to help his friend die in peace. Together with a retired veterinarian, who brings the tranquilizers, and a former police detective to clean up the evidence, he tries to figure out the best way to put Max to rest. The thing is no one in the group can bring themselves to actually kill Max, so Yehezkel invents a "Euthanasia Machine" which will allow Max to press the button himself, and fulfil his own wish to die with dignity.

Levana, Yehezkel's wife, does everything she can to stop them, but Yehezkel goes behind her back, and together the group of friends help Max end his suffering. When Levana, who suffers from early stage Alzheimer’s, realises what they've done she calls them all murderers, and wants nothing to do with them.

Meanwhile word of the machine begins to leak out, and old people from all over Jerusalem come to the retirement home looking for a way to end the suffering of their loved ones. They beg Yehezkel and his friends to help them. The group resists at first, but finally they find themselves in the euthanasia “business", granting people their last wish to die in peace.

Yehezkel is so distracted by all this that he refuses to realise that Levana's condition is deteriorating, despite her increasingly erratic behaviour. But Levana realises she's one step away from not knowing her own granddaughter and as she begins to consider her own situation she starts to understand that she may have misjudged her husband and her friends.

Directors Statement

“For against your will you are formed, against your will you are born, against your will you live” (“Ethics of the Fathers”, chapter 4). Can you at least determine when to die?

THE FAREWELL PARTY deals with separation. Separation from someone you love, separation from yourself - when the mind begins to fail, and the separation from life and the right to choose how it all ends.

The main characters are senior citizens, in a retirement community in Jerusalem, people who have retired from their life's work – these types of people are not usually heroes of movies. But out of that very place of retirement and inactivity, they decide to gain control over their fate. As in any tragedy where the protagonist tries to change his destiny and of those surrounding him, there is an unbearable price to pay.

THE FAREWELL PARTY is also a film about love and friendship. Our five main characters find comfort, strength and hope in each other in the difficult and funniest moments of life.

The plot is not autobiographical, but is based on personal experiences accumulated while caring for a ‘Helga’; someone close to us, towards the end of their life. In our process of saying goodbye to a loved one, we discovered that when the body fails and the mind remains lucid, self-irony and humour remain the best way to cope with the prospect of death.
In our films we try to deal with contemporary social issues, which are often controversial. We try to break the emotional drama with absurd and comic elements. We do so also by casting comedians and in the case of this film some of the icons of Israeli comedy, in dramatic roles. We feel this makes this difficult and important issue more accessible to our audience, and hopefully, as in life, they will laugh as they wipe away their tears.
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Cast & Crew

Directed by : Tal Granit, Sharon Maymon

Written by : Sharon Maymon, Tal Granit

Produced by : Haim Mecklberg, Estee Yacov-Mecklberg, Talia Kleinhendler, Osnat Handelsman-Keren, Thanassis Karathanos

Director of Photography : Tobias Hochstein

Editor : Einat Glaser-Zarhin

Production Design : Arad Sawat

Costume Design : Laura Sheim

Composer : Avi Belleli

Sound Design : Aviv Aldema

Main Cast : Ze'ev Revach (Yehezkel), Levana Finkelstein (Levana), Aliza Rozen (Yana), Ilan Dar (Dr. Daniel), Raffi Tavor (Raffi Segal)

Nominations and Awards

  • EFA Selection 2015