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Forty years ago, Nissim Kahlon dug a little home into a limestone cliff in Israel’s Apollonia National Park. Kahlon, now 67, still digs nearly every day, and his once-modest home has grown into an intricate series of caverns and carvings. Apollonian Story follows the cantankerous old man throughout his daily routine—digging, chastising his 18-year-old son Moshe, and swimming in the sea. Through framing and beautiful camerawork, directors Ilan Moskovitch and Dan Bronfeld perform a kind of alchemy on the limestone grit and sandy beaches, making even the dirtiest, dingiest scenes look stunning on screen. In the film’s opening sequence, for instance, the camera fixes on Kahlon as he furiously stabs at a limestone wall with a metal pole for a full 30 seconds. “Fuck you,” mumbles Kahlon, as he scrapes away at the crumbly rock. Interspersed throughout the film, these little vignettes speak to the rawness of the characters, and teach us more about its subjects than most movies do with conventional means.

Apollonian Story from DAN BRONFELD on Vimeo.