Imagine for a moment, that your entire identity, from a cultural and familial stand point, is erased. The person that you thought you were gets wiped away and you must find the means cope with being another human being. That is the dilemma that is the sole conflict in The Other Son (Le fils de l’autre), a brilliant drama by Lorraine Levy, that gets at the core of these issues, as well as the social conflict at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Joesph (Jules Sitruk) is preparing to enlist in the Israeli army, but once he gets the blood test back, it turns out to have a different blood type than his parents, Orith (Emmanuelle Devos) and Alon (Pascal Elbé). During the first Gulf War, the hospital Orith and Alon were in, came under attack and their child was mistakenly swapped for another child. Their true son, Yacine (Mehdi Dehbi) has grown up as a Palestinian living in the West Bank, with Joeseph’s true parents, Leïla (Areen Omari) and Saïd (Khalifa Natour). After finding out, the boys try their best to make sense of everything and try to make sense of the crisis concerning their cultural and self identities.
The Other Son is full of strong performances, from both families and all contribute to the drama at hand. The situation would be extremely difficult for anyone person to handle, but the drama is heightened due to the families being part of a major social conflict. As both families try to have dinner together and the boys are spending time with one another, their fathers begin to have a heated argument about their cultural differences. Even at one point when both men try to find a means to try and work things over a cup of coffee, they still sit next to one another in absolute silence. It elements like these and plenty of other great moments that Levy has crafted with her cast to create an emotionally gratifying experience in The Other Son.
The Blu-Ray of The Other Son from Cohen Media group is a well presented disc, with both excellent video and audio quality, as well as some solid extra features. The video is presented in a AVC encoded, 1080p video track, with an aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The clarity is crystal clear and presents an excellent natural look for The Other Son. Cinematographer Emmanuel Soyer, showcases Tel Aviv and the West Bank in fine detail and gives a fantastic presentation of a film that was shot on location. The audio on the disc is offered in a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix, that is in multiple languages. French, Hebrew, English and Arabic are spoken in the film, so there’s no other alternative track to choose from. With the film being dialog centric, there’s only a little of activity in the surround mix. When the characters are at a large location, like the beach or in the midst of the city, the mix becomes a little more immersive. There are only two extras on the disc, a 30 minute behind-the-scenes for the film and a blooper reel. The behind-the-scenes is very informative, on how the cast was selected and how the people involved did their best to explore the themes of cultural and familial identity. The five minute blooper reel is pretty hilarious, considering that the film is a straight forward drama and managed to make me laugh out lout at a few moments.
The Other Son is an excellent drama, that explores a difficult subject and personalizes it, in order to create drama. The film succeeds on this level, due to its well crafted script and brilliant cast, that make The Other Son a remarkable and genuine experience.