... but nothing works as planned.
… manager is sent to return the coffin to her homeland, but nothing works as planned.
The human resources manager of Jerusalem´s largest bakery is in serious trouble. His wife left him, he is a disappointment for his daughter whom he barely sees and he hates his job. As if this is not enough, a foreign employee of the bakery, Yulia Petracke, was killed in a suicide bomber attack in Jerusalem. Her body is waiting to be identified, but nobody comes. The only clue they have is her last paycheck which was found on her body. A Journalist in a local Jerusalem newspaper reveals the affair and accuses the bakery with indifference towards its foreign employees.
To repair the damaged image of the bakery, the owner of the bakery, the Widow, commands her human resources manager at the bakery to identify the foreign worker´s body - whom he didn´t know even existed before her death - and as a gesture, to accompany the body to her burial in her homeland. The manager couldn´t resist his boss´s demand, although he has promised his daughter that he will accompany her to her fieldtrip. He sets himself a goal to finish the mission in a few days in order to not disappoint his daughter again.
After finding out that the only one who could sign the death certificate is Yulias mother, the manager decides to go on a journey of more than a thousand kilometers, in order to complete the mission. Together with an oblique vice consul, a pesky reporter, a drunken driver and the rebellious son of the dead worker, the human resources manager finds himself on a crazy journey in a foreign country in the middle of stormy winter weather, a journey that might change him. Even when it seems that he has just accomplished his mission, something comes up. It is not a matter of just finishing the mission, but for the first time in his life he wants to do everything in the right way.
The human resources manager who is well played by Mark Ivanir is the main character in the movie, which appears in every scene of the movie. Although he is a typical Israeli manager - rough and tough from outside - he is tender and kind from the inside. From not knowing the dead foreign worker or even about her existence, the manager gets to know her family deeply through journey. It seems as if he falls in love with her and her son. He gets along with him and understands him more than his father does.
The Weasel (Guri Alfi) is the journalist who reveals this case in the local newspaper. Thanks to him, justice is made and the dead foreigner is going apparently to where she belongs. He is the conscience of the human resource manager.
Yulia´s son is played by the French actor Noah Silver, which "could be the next Leonardo Decaprio, if he will take acting seriously", claims Eran Riklis. The boy is the only one who is attached to his feelings and cares dearly for his mother. He insists to get his mother to her mother, as she is the only family she has except him. He also changes in this journey from being like a wild animal to a warm and sensitive boy.
Yulia´s mother (Irina Petrescu) is representing the small village and the old world that Yulia ran away from to find herself. Although she is seen for just a couple of minutes in the movie, she manages to get to the audience hearts with her deep and touching gaze.
The consul is played by Rosina Kambus, who have won an Ophir award (Israeli academy award) for her acting in this movie. She brings her energy and humor to the movie, brings the identity of the Israeli Jews who are leaving abroad and makes the connection between the east and the west.
The Widow is performed by the famous Israeli actor Gila Almagor, who is also a screenwriter and an author. Due to the fact that she played in more than 50 theater movies, she was entitled "the queen of the Israeli cinema".
Foreign workers in the Spot light
Usually the foreign workers are hidden from view and anonymous for the locals. But in this movie the only character with a complete identity of a first and last name is the foreign worker. She is the main issue and everybody is working to bring her back to where she belongs. The most important thing is that she finds her place of contentment. The question of identity is a repeating question in Riklis´s films. Until the end of the film we don´t know if Yulia found the place where she was happy. The hot topic of foreign workers in Western countries which also emerges in this film, but is treated more gently and is concentrating more on people´s feelings and the emotional difficulty of such a situation. The film supposedly calls us to see the foreign worker as a very close person and not as anonymous.
After the audience´s favorite movies, THE SYRIAN BRIDE and LEMON TREE, the director Eran Riklis brings you in a humorous and optimistic way of crossing boundaries, his new movie: THE HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGER.
The movie won the Audience Award in 2010 at the Locarno Film Festival and also the Israeli "Ophir Awards" with the prizes: Best Picture, Best Screenplay, which is based on an A. B. Yehoshua novel, Best Director and Best Supporting Actress (Rosina Kambus).
About the Director: Eran Riklis was born in 1954 in Jerusalem and during his childhood he lived in Canada, the United States, Brazil and Israel. He graduated from the department of Film and Television in the Tel Aviv University and from Beaconsfield National Film School in England.
AVIVA-Interview with the director
AVIVA-Berlin: In this movie, actually in many of your movies, you bring up the issue of identity. Is it something you personally relate to? Do you think that this is something that characterizes us as Israelis or is it something global?
Eran Riklis: I think it´s global, though if I look at it from an Israeli perspective, we are in fact very proud of our Israeli identity, but on the other hand, almost all of us come from all sorts of places in the world, that is a country of immigrants, and each carries his own legacy. On my personal level, it might be connected. I grew up in lots of places: I was born in Israel, grew up in Canada and the United States, I returned to Israel, we moved again, I was in Brazil, I experienced life in a lot of places and that has done me a world of good, I think. It seems to me that it helped me become universally communicative so that I don´t make a big deal of where people are coming from. I respect and appreciate that there are tradition and customs, etc., but when I do a movie, like this one, I expect it to also work in China, in Texas and Germany.
AVIVA-Berlin: What did you like best in this movie? Which part moved you?
Eran Riklis: This little moment that the grandmother asks the manager if Yulia was happy in Jerusalem and he thinks for a moment and says "I do not know". I think that this is a moment, perhaps the only one in the movie where he is telling the truth. This moment is apparently small but significant because it is sort of a turning point for the manager. Beyond that, it was a movie I enjoyed making, it was hard to make, especially the part taken in Romania. It was a journey that physically was really hard. I felt a kind of energy, as if there´s no stopping me. I think that´s what I enjoyed, and I also loved working with the actors which are all great, all different characters.
AVIVA-Berlin: What were the difficulties making this movie?
Eran Riklis: I think that one of them was the van. There was the driver, the vice consul, the boy, the human resources manager and the reporter - 5 people in this small van of one meter by one meter at the same time. I had to deal with 3 different languages at the same time, give each of them attention, after all each of them is spoiled and an egoist and he wants the attention that he deserves. The difficulties are to stay open minded and attentive and with the same energy that you had in the first day of the shooting. To stay with this energy till the last day is the biggest challenge of all.
AVIVA-Berlin: In the movie you present a very relevant issue, the issue of foreign workers in Israel. At the beginning of the movie we as Israelis are not portrayed in a very good light. Do you think that the treatment that the movie describes is what the foreign workers in Israel get?
Eran Riklis: What I have shown here is a gentle attitude in comparison. I think that this is one of the worst things that we still sin in. There are hundreds of thousands foreigners that are not really refugees, but some of them came due to political humanitarian reasons or just to find a job. The Israelis wanted them in order to do the jobs that they didn´t want to do. I think there is already a second generation of foreign workers that are actually Israelis. I can´t bear to see this kind of scenes when the immigration police force into a building at 3 a.m. and tears some miserable Philippine woman with her child out of her apartment. It doesn´t seem logic to me. We have to solve this problem - we have to decide whether we make them citizens or we get to a decision that defines who can stay and who can´t.
© Sharon Adler
AVIVA Tipp: Der Personalmanager (The Human Resource Manager) has mixed moments of sadness and happiness with delicate humor as a way to deal with the unpleasant moments in life. Where Yulia ends her life as a foreign worker, the manager manages to gets his life back. Till this journey he was mentally dead. The death brings all the people together and back to the right track. The small magical moments of strong feelings and the opportunity to go along with someone to her/his journey are making this movie worth watching.
Der Personalmanager (The Human Resource Manager)
Director: Eran Riklis
Script: Noah Stollman
Label: Alamode Filmdistribution OHG
Originaltitel: The Human Resources Manager
Land / Jahr: Israel/Deutschland/Frankreich/Rumänien, 2010
Sprachen: Deutsch, Hebräisch. Untertitel: Deutsch
Mark Ivanir - The Human Resources Manager
Reymond Amsalem - The Divorcee
Gila Almagor - The Widow
Noah Silver - The Boy
Guri Alfi - The Weasel
Irina Petrescu - The Grandmother
Julian Negulesco - The Vice Consul
Bogdan E. Stanoevitch - The Ex-Husband
Ofir Weil - The Morgue Worker
Roni Koren - The Daughter
Papil Panduru - The Driver
Danna Semo - The Secretary
Sylwia Drori - The Nun
Extras: Making of, Trailer
Filmlänge: 103 Min.
More Info at:
Read more at AVIVA-Berlin:
Die syrische Braut
Eran Riklis im Interview (2008)