Golden Voices – movie review

Raja (Mariya Belkin) and Victor Frankel (Vladimir Friedman), a couple in their 60s, were the unsung heroes of Russian cinema. For several decades they had dubbed Hollywood epics into Russian for cinema audiences.

But with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990, the couple left Russia and migrated to Israel. But like thousands of other Russian Jews in search of a better life, they struggled to adapt to their new life, new culture and language. There was no demand for their particular skills. After some missteps they found work which allowed them to use their vocal talents again. Victor dubs the latest Hollywood films for an illegal bootlegging operation, while Raja found success working for a telephone sex line.

Golden Voices is a gentle comedy about the clash of cultures and an elderly couple finding a new life. Its themes will appeal strongly to discerning audiences of a certain age. It has been directed by Russian born filmmaker Evgeny Ruman (The Damned), who like the Frankels, migrated to Israel in 1990. Ruman wrote the script in collaboration with his cinematographer Ziv Berkovich, and it explores themes of displacement, disillusionment, and new beginnings. But it’s also steeped in an obvious love of cinema.

Golden Voices is witty and warm and provides some gentle chuckles without many laugh out loud moments. There is good chemistry between Belkina (Hunting Elephants) and Freidman (American Assassin), who flesh out their characters giving them depth and personality.

Greg King

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