Past Life

May 30th, 2017


Past Life

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Release Year: 2016

Rating: 7.1/10 ( voted)

Critic's Score: /100

Director: Avi Nesher

Stars: Nelly Tagar, Joy Rieger, Doron Tavory

The year is 1977, and no female has ever been a renowned classical music composer. Sephi Milch, a very determined and talented young woman, aspires to a career as a classical composer, but she knows the odds are against her. In spite of this, she is dead set on changing the course of history and succeeding in the male-dominated classical music world. Her struggle with the burden of history is not only limited to her artistic life - as the daughter of troubled Holocaust survivors, she also has to deal with a sudden revelation from the past that threatens to tear her family apart. Nana Milch - Sephi's older sister and bitter rival, a scandal sheet journalist and an aspiring playwright - considers this startling revelation an opportunity to free herself from the stranglehold of her parents' past. Sephi is weary of her sister's tendency to look for trouble, but in this case she has no choice but to join Nana's quest for the truth. 1977 is the year Egyptian president Sadat decided to break...

Nelly Tagar - Nana Milch-Kotler
Joy Rieger - Sephi Milch
Doron Tavory - Baruch Milch
Evgenia Dodina - Lusia Milch
Tom Avni - Jeremy Kotler
Rafael Stachowiak - Thomas Zielinski
Muli Shulman - Uri Lotan
Katarzyna Gniewkowska - Agnieszka Zielinska
Gilat Ankori - Manya Zonenshein
Orna Rotenberg - Rivka Hen
Lenny Cohen - Alona
Avi Kornick - Dudush
Keren Tzur - Dr. Haber
Aryeh Cherner - Romek
Nitzan Rotschild - Young Baruch Milch

Taglines: Their father survived World War II. But the unsettling truth about how will change their family forever.

Country: Israel, Poland

Language: English, German, Polish, Hebrew

Release Date: 3 Jan 2016

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Nelly Tagar actually did pee on her baby sister in real life when she was a little girl. She told the story to Avi Nesher, the director. He loved it so much he put it into the script See more »

User Review


Rating: 3/10

For me, Past Life was generally far too melodramatic for modern audiences. It also felt tonally inconsistent in a very odd way, which generally undercut the story as a whole. I'd blame the director. Even if it is a reflection of the source material, the director's job is to figure out what story he's telling, and I don't think this director ever quite figured that out.

On the positive side, the lead actress was strong and appealing; the production values were high; and if you like choral singing, there was a lot of it. And the story moved along without slow spots.

On the negative side, the movie was eliciting odd reactions from me. A character intended to be nice and sympathetic and possibly romantic came across as a young Nosferatu. The girl's mother was always looming silently in the background, wringing her hands, occasionally with a nosebleed.

The movie had a number of shocks and revelations, but they were not generally that shocking or revelatory. There were endless crises: a medical crisis! A search through archives, but we're running out of time! An imagining someone naked scene, and on and on. A lot of shouting and hysteria. Overall, the movie just felt forced.

There were other annoyances. Much was made of a "diary" written by the father. On the first entry, "1 September 1939", he writes about events to come over the next five years. Sorry, that's not a diary. (Perhaps the subtitler ought to have chosen the word memoir, but it was grating.)


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