THE FAREWELL PARTY is an acclaimed Israeli comedy about the residents of a retirement home who build a machine for self-euthanasia in order to help their terminally ill friend, though they are faced with a series of dilemmas when rumors of the machine begin to spread. (Yes, it’s a comedy.) Well into their ’70s, Yehezkel and his wife Levana are living a comfortable life inside a Jerusalem retirement home. But their contented lives are soon dealt a deep shock when their dear friend Max falls prey to an irreversible illness. Looking for a way out, Max asks Yehezkel for help to end his suffering. Yehezkel, a longtime amateur inventor, rises to the challenge by constructing a machine that will allow Max to self-administer a dose of tranquilizers. Levana, however, believes that such a device is immoral, and expresses her passionate disapproval. But when Levana herself begins to face a serious health issue, Yehezkel finds that his feelings about his new contraption become increasingly complicated. In THE FAREWELL PARTY, co-directors Sharon Maymon and Tal Granit have tackled an extremely sensitive issue in a vibrant and unique way. You will cry while watching this movie, but whether from laughter or compassion will be difficult to separate.
Co-directors Sharon Maymon and Tal Granit had this to say about their acclaimed — THE FAREWELL PARTY won four Israeli Academy Awards, including in Best Actor for Israeli star Ze’ev Revach, and received a total of 14 nominations, including Best Film, Director, Screenplay, and Actress — film:
“‘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 type 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 isan 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 humor 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.”