A lot can happen in 'Seven Minutes'
"Seven Minutes In Heaven" will be shown Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Historic Yuma Theatre, 254 S. Main St. The screening, part of the Arizona Western College Foundation’s Thursdays at the Theatre, includes an independent short film and a hosted discussion. Language is Hebrew with English subtitles. Run time of the feature is 98 minutes; admission is $5.
Yet another fine film from Israel, “Seven Minutes In Heaven” is part drama, part romance, part mystery and part paranormal thriller.
Picking up the pieces
The action opens exactly a year after a young woman, Galia, was badly injured and her boyfriend killed in the suicide bombing of the bus she always rode to work. Galia still wears the flesh-colored contact suit used to treat the burns on much of her body.
Otherwise, she seems to have made great progress in overcoming the physical and emotional trauma of the attack. But when she gets an envelope in the mail containing a necklace — the same one her boyfriend, Oren, gave her shortly before he died — she is forced to confront some of the lingering questions she has about the incident.
Much of what happened that day has been blocked from her memory, but flashes of it begin to come back to her at odd moments. In addition, she starts to have random moments of anxiety while going about her business. On one such occasion, she finds herself running through a crowded marketplace and only recovers when a concerned stranger comes over to offer his help.
She bumps into the same man, Boaz, a couple of other times, and they strike up a friendship. He seems to want the role of an unofficial guardian, offering to help her with her move to another apartment, for starters. Although she is still mourning the loss of Oren, she is oddly compelled to accept Boaz's overtures of companionship.
The real test of Boaz's friendship, though, will be whether he can support her in sorting through the lingering baggage of her tragedy. For example, she needs to find out who sent her the necklace, and why. She also wants to find the volunteer fireman who pulled her from the bus before it exploded and killed Oren.
Perhaps most seriously for her, she seems to feel responsible for Oren's death, as it begins to come back to her that she had been the cause of turmoil in their relationship. In fact, he shouldn't have even been on the bus with her that day, should he?
Finally, she knows she will need to visit the remains of the bus in order to resolve her many uncertainties. Boaz, himself an emergency responder, has access to the compound where such wreckage is kept. But will the memory be too much for her?
Somehow, in spite of the horrific subject matter of the film, it avoids taking any political position. Instead, it compassionately examines the struggles of people who have been subjected to life-changing experiences entirely beyond their control.
It also raises moral and spiritual questions: What would we do differently if we had a second chance? Do any of the petty frustrations that consume our lives really matter, or is there a bigger picture that we don't see until it's too late? For that matter, how much of what we perceive is even real?
“Seven Minutes In Heaven” is a very complex film, structurally and thematically. It is also rich in production elements: acting, photography, editing, dialogue. Most notably, though, it features an charged atmosphere that is very hard to shake off after the ending credits roll.