JUNE ZERO Review: Never Again, and Yet

Contributing Writer; Montreal
JUNE ZERO Review: Never Again, and Yet

This is a good movie, objectively. The shots are creative, the actors talented, the story heavy. What do I mean by that? That at one point the carpet becomes a film reel, that June Zero weaves together three different perspectives, that they all revolve around the trial and cremation of the infamous Nazi Eichmann. It is set in the 1960s, in the aftermath of WW2.

The first story: A young boy, child to Libyan immigrants, comes into his own as he begins a job at the factory. His name is David (Adam Gabay). He builds an interesting relationship with his boss Zebco (Tzahi Grad).

The first order is precisely the crematorium that will be used to burn Eichmann's remains. Upon seeing the plans, an employee who is a Holocaust survivor faints. He recognizes the logo of the company from Auschwitz. "Why are we building a Nazi crematorium?"

The boss sees it as revenge, David sees a project that he excels at, and the audience sees the characters deal with a hypocrisy that, in 2024, cannot be untangled from the systematic massacre of Palestinians in Gaza, a topic not touched on in the film. Instead, in this part, it defers to the issue of a Jewish Libyan boy, and in the second, to that of a Moroccan guard.

Hayim (Yoav Levi) is the one that orders the oven. We follow him home, to the prison. He is in charge of making sure Eichmann does not die until he is supposed to, and he is meticulous about it. It is important he is Moroccan; no Holocaust survivors are allowed in, so as to prevent them getting "emotional."

Hayim has a strange relationship with Eichmann, whose face is never shown. He lights his cigarettes for him; he refuses to deliver a message to his wife, but behind his back. Hayim's main relationship is with an insistent reporter, who gets on his nerves. Or with his own body, that is probably reeling from a concussion that happens early on in this section. His eye even gets to be blood red.

The third part revolves around Micha (Tom Hagi), a key figure in Eichamman's trial. Earlier in the movie, it was alluded to that he had suffered. Once his section begins, it opens with a wonderful shot in which no one is present. Only the locations, in one continuous move, as he describes his experience in a Polish ghetto he lived in. Then his face, gaunt and handsome.

We are in Poland. He is talking to Americans, and one agent from the Jewish Agency. She becomes a pseudo love interest, but principally, a warning of the way they intend to use him as part of a permanent tour, reliving his pain.

She says, "I don't want 'never forget' to become 'only remember.'" He takes offense to her comments. He explains a different perspective, one of disbelief in other people as he told his story. In pre-cellphone time, all they can do is hope they see each other again.

The three stories close, satisfyingly. They are based on true accounts.

Director Jake Paltrow is probably tired of hearing this, but he is the younger brother of Gwyneth Paltrow. You may remember him from The Good Night. You may remember he chose to make this beautiful movie now. Never again, and yet.

The film is currently playing at select U.S. theaters, and will be expanding in the coming weeks. Visit the official Cohen Media site for more information on locations and showtimes.

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Adam GabaiAmi SmolarchikJake PaltrowJoy RiegerKoby AderetNoam OvadiaRotem KainanTom HagiTzahi GradYoav Levi

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