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A delightfully prickly Talmudic comedy, this movie can't really be done justice with a simple plot synopsis. We'll try: A father and his adult son, both Jerusalem-based scholars, compete for academic glory. The former toils in relative obscurity, the latter has found popularity and esteem. Up for grabs is the Israel Prize, an honor that is accidentally granted to the wrong man. Writer-director Joseph Cedar simmers an impressive stew of resentment and comeuppance, all while leavening in hints of physical comedy and riotous camerawork. Mysteriously, NYFF's press screening was scheduled too late to recommend the film in time; fortunately, it's been picked up for distribution next year by Sony Pictures Classics.—JR

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New York Film Festival 2011

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