Film and TV

The Human Resources Manager reveals how respect for humanity is a tenuously organic process

Tender irony and dark humor abound in The Human Resources Manager, Israeli director Eran Riklis's latest account of bureaucracy colliding with burgeoning compassion. This followup to 2008's Lemon Tree, based on the novel A Woman in Jerusalem, by A.B. Yehoshua, hits the road when the restless personnel director (Mark Ivanir) of a large Jerusalem bakery is forced by his employer (Gila Almagor) to accompany the body of Yulia, a slain former employee, to her Eastern European home. Once there, he's joined by the put-upon local consul (Rosina Kambus, who's quietly hilarious), her pliant husband, and the dead woman's surly son (Noah Silver). A muckraking journalist (Guri Alfi) known as the Weasel — the deceased is the only character called by name — also tags along to needle the brooding functionary. While the coffin-laden road trip echoes Faulkner's As I Lay Dying in its gradual accumulation of absurdities, the point is neither to underscore how death unravels the lives of surviving loved ones (indeed, it has the opposite effect here) nor to redeem the titular hero, but to reveal how respect for the humanity of others is a tenuously organic process. Like Mr. HR's growing regard for poor Yulia, Riklis's understated grasp of his story's wider implications pays rich dividends.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Mark Holcomb