Reviewer: Craig Phillips
Rating (out of five): * * *
The Human Resources Manager, released on DVD by the reliably interesting Film Movement catalog, won five major Israeli Ophir Awards (Israel’s Oscars). Directed by Eran Riklis, Based on A.B. Yehoshua's book "A Woman in Jerusalem," the film is a worthy if occasionally sluggish follow-up to his previous feature, The Lemon Tree. The film starts off a bit slow, but stick with it; when the story leaves Israel it resonates.
The titular employee (Mark Ivanir) manages Jerusalem's largest bakery, and his life is on the skids. He hates his job, his wife's left him, and he struggles to maintain connection to his young daughter. Then a foreign-born female employee, Yulia (interestingly, the only character in the film who is given a name), is killed in a suicide bombing, and he has to help the company make amends after negative news coverage, as well as make up for the fact that he basically knew nothing of the woman at all. The manager's boss (Gila Almagor) orders him to do damage control, and he ends up accompanying the victim's body to her homeland. She claims to want to take on the burden of guilt in this case but instead hangs him out to dry.